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Plans to auction an enormous plesiosaur skeleton in Paris have been met with outrage from geologists in Morocco who believe that the ancient belongs to their country.
Scheduled to go up for sale next week, the remains of the ancient creature often credited with being the inspiration for Nessie measure nearly 30 feet long and were allegedly reconstructed from four large fossils brought to Europe from Morocco.
Therein lies the problem, however, as Moroccan academics have decried the impending auction and demanded that France return the 66-million-year-old ‘treasure’ to their country.
The president of the auction house, however, insists that the fossils had been legally removed from the country and expressed dismay that the controversy is overshadowing the incredible work done to restore the skeleton.
Touted as the world’s only “museum quality” plesiosaur skeleton for sale, the piece is expected to go for nearly $500,000 at next week’s auction.
With time running out before bidding begins, concerned Moroccans are pleading with their government to intervene in the matter in the hopes that it might put a stop to the sale.
Alas, official channels have remained silent on the issue, suggesting that the skeleton will likely soon wind up in the hands of a wealthy collector of ancient curios.
As such, the plesiosaur may prove to be just as elusive as the legendary creature said to lurk in Loch Ness unless folks in Morocco can raise half-a-millions dollars in a few days.