Appeals Court Denies Rehearing in South Dakota T-Rex Case

September 16, 2009

A federal appeals court has denied a rehearing in the five-year battle over ownership of Tinker, a 65 million-year-old skeleton of a teenage Tyrannosaurus unearthed in South Dakota.

Commissioners in Harding County, where the fossils were first found in 1998, had asked 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for another hearing after it validated a lease entitling the county to only 10 percent of any sales proceeds.

The appeals court denied the county’s request on Tuesday.

The county claimed that it deserved ownership because fossil hunters excavated and removed the fossils from remote county land without consent, but the 8th Circuit ruled last month that Ron Frithiof of Texas and his partners did not engage in fraud or trespass.

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