The Brazilian government announced Monday that a 110-million-year-old fossil of a rare type of dinosaur unearthed in Brazil before it was haphazardly sent to Germany has been returned to the South American country.
“The fossil of Obiragara jubatus, the first non-avian dinosaur with feather-like structures found in South America, was returned to Brazil on Sunday,” Brazil’s Ministry of Science and Technology announced.
The sample arrived in Brasilia with a German government delegation on an official visit led by Foreign Minister Analina Berbock.
This is a fossil of a chicken-sized, feathered dinosaur that lived in the state of Ceará, in northeastern Brazil. It was discovered by foreign researchers in the 1990s and then brought to Germany for study.
It has hitherto been kept in the Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe, southwest Germany, and will now be part of the Placido Cidade Nuvens Museum’s collection of paleontology in Ceara.
There has been controversy surrounding the fossil since December 2020 and an article published in a scientific journal describing the new species. The article revealed that no Brazilian scientist was involved in his study, which means that he left Brazil infrequently.
Since 1942, Brazilian law has stipulated that fossils are part of the national heritage and official permission is required in order for them to leave the country.
Brazilian scientists launched a campaign on social media calling for the return of the sample under the slogan #UbirajarabelongstoBR (Ubirajara Belongs to Brazil).
“Without the mobilization of the Brazilian scientific community, we would not have succeeded. The German government was sensitive to our fight, and together we achieved this victory,” Brazil’s Minister of State for Science and Technology, Inácio Arruda, welcomed in a press release.