(ORDO NEWS) — About five years ago in the US, someone stole a 250-million-year-old layer of fossils from Capitol Reef National Park.
Now the National Park Service has decided to return it and offered a small reward for information about the thief.
In US National Parks, tourists regularly steal some fossils.
According to IFLScience , the fossilized footprints were left by a Triassic-era reptile. For a long time they remained untouched in Capitol Reef Park, until an unknown person knocked them out and stole them sometime between 2017 and 2018.
The loss was only discovered after a paleontologist commented on photos of Capitol Reef National Park on social media. He wrote that something was clearly missing on one of the tracks.
Now the National Park Service has reached out to the public and offered a $1,000 reward for any information about the thief.
Why is that bad?
In the United States, tourists often steal such artifacts as souvenirs, because they lie in the wild without proper supervision.
However, this behavior is extremely worrying for experts, since the removal of artifacts from natural places has a disastrous effect on their scientific value.
That is why national parks in the United States are protected by a law that prohibits people from taking things from the ground. True, not everyone is stopped by the threat of large fines and even imprisonment.
Visitors who have taken a souvenir from the earth with them sometimes bring it back. This leads to the appearance of “dumps” of artifacts and sometimes even museums, since the stolen things can no longer be returned to their original place.
In Petrified Forest National Park, petrified wood is regularly stolen by tourists, and local authorities don’t know what to do about it.
By the way, earlier we talked about the return of another historical artifact. Earlier this year, an anonymous source returned the stolen notebooks of Charles Darwin after 20 years. He even left a short message wishing him a happy Easter.
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