French authorities return seized fossils to Brazil

fossils french customs
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Nearly 10 years after their confiscation at the French port of Le Havre, 998 Cretaceous fossils have been returned to Brazil. French customs authorities returned the priceless pieces to Brazil’s Deputy Attorney General Hindemburgo Chateaubriand Filho in a ceremony held on Tuesday.

The fossils were found by French customs officers in a quartz shipment in 2013. The pieces, which are between 145 million and 65 million years old, were illegally removed from the Araripe Basin in Brazil’s Northeast. Due to its paleontological significance, the Araripe Geopark was designated the Americas’ first geopark by Unesco in 2006.

As The Brazilian Report explored last month, Brazil is a rich location for paleontological research but has often suffered from “paleopiracy” – the exhibition in museums abroad of fossils illegally removed from the country.  

These 998 Cretaceous fossils will be handed to the Regional University of Cariri’s Plácido Cidade Nuvens Museum of Paleontology, in the state of Ceará.