China investigating U.S. sale of possible Chinese fossil

Chinese authorities are investigating the auction in Los Angeles of fossilized dinosaur eggs said to be from China and might ask for them to be returned, said a Foreign Ministry spokesman quoted Wednesday by a state news agency.

"The Chinese government attaches great importance to the sale and is conducting an investigation into it," said ministry spokesman Qin Gang, quoted by the Xinhua News Agency.

The unusually well-preserved 65 million-year-old nest containing 22 fossilized raptoid eggs was sold Dec. 4 for nearly US$420,000 (Ђ320,000).

The auction house Bonhams & Butterfields said the nest was sold by an American collector who had bought it in 2003. It said the nest was found in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong in 1984.

Beijing bars most exports of dinosaur fossils, reports AP.

"If it is proved that the dinosaur nest was unearthed in China, the Chinese government will request its return back to China according to relevant international laws and conventions," Qin said.

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