Nicolas Cage's Dinosaur Skull Purchase Should Make Leonardo DiCaprio Very Happy
If you were a 7-year-old boy and you had as much money as a film star related to the Coppola family does, what would you buy? If your answer is anything other than a real-life dinosaur skull (or your own rocket ship), you're WRONG. Nic Cage doesn't care about all that, though — he's 49, and he made that exact purchase. According to The Telegraph, Nicolas Cage purchased a real dinosaur skull at an auction in 2007, only to find out it was actually the center of a major fossil smuggling ring. He reportedly dropped $276,000 on the skull and beat out Leonardo DiCaprio at the auction by phone, making this just another thing Leo has lost out on.
Unfortunately, the story took a pretty shocking turn for poor Nic: Six years after he made the purchase to add to his "fossil collection," The Telegraph discovered that the fossil came from a man named Eric Prokopi, who plead guilty last year to smuggling fossils from Mongolia and China, and is facing 17 years in prison for his crimes. Cage's Tyrannosaurus bataar skull may actually be taken away by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement division to assist with their investigation, which kind of makes me happy Leo didn't win it — he would've just had it ripped away from him, anyway.
As Slate points out, it's actually sad that this is a situation in the first place — Cage should have never even bought the skull in the first place:
A lot of dinosaur fanatics would probably love to have part of a favorite therapod adorning the mantle, but the cold, hard truth is that dinosaur auctions are to paleontology what poaching is to wildlife conservation. The sale of fossils at auction, across markets from Beverly Hills to eBay, removes valuable clues from the collective picture paleontologists are trying to build of life on Earth 65-plus million years ago. We should honor and protect their method. After all, their breakthroughs bring us closer toreal stars—the dinosaur stars of natural history who ruled uncontested for 115 million years, the most dominant group of animals the planet has ever seen.
Preach. No one needs to spend $276,000 on a dinosaur skull, no matter who they are or how much money they have — not only does it feed smugglers' business, such as that of Prokopi, but it also takes away potentially important clues about our Earth's history.
Next time, Cage, just settle for the rocket ship.