German Museum Refuses to Return Dinosaur Fossil Taken Irregularly from Brazil

With #UbirajaraBelongstoBR, Brazilians flooded the institution's social networks with criticism and accusations of theft


The exotic fossil of Ubirajara jubatus, the first non-avian dinosaur, found with its feathers preserved in Latin America, will not return to Brazil.

Despite the evidence that the remains had been illegally taken abroad, the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe announced that it would remain in Germany.

The institution stated that the fossil arrived in the country before the entry into force of the international convention establishing the return of artifacts. Therefore, it is legally the property of the German State of Baden-Württemberg.

The institution's decision infuriated the Brazilian paleontological community, which flooded social media with accusations that the Germans violated international and Brazilian law.

Scientists have organized using the expression #UbirajaraBelongstoBR (Ubirajara belongs to Brazil), which gained enormous popularity in December 2020, when the discovery of the new species of the Brazilian dinosaur was published in the specialized magazine Cretaceous Research.

Given the evidence that the fossil had left Brazilian territory irregularly, the periodical ended up removing the article from its website shortly after.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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