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Man returns missing dinosaur bone replicas to Vernal museum

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File photo of the complete Diplodocus skeleton, at Natural History State Park Museum in Vernal. Two femurs reported stolen April 5, 2013, were returned to the museum Monday evening, April 8. The museum is honoring their 'no questions asked' return of the 200-pound bones. The femurs were immediately shipped from Utah Field House to USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum in Price, which is the new home for the complete Diplodocus skeleton. Utah Field House opens its new curatorial facility this Friday, April 12. Visitors may visit the museum for free all day Friday and view a similar Diplodocus femur on display at the museum.

By Michael McFall

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Apr 10 2013 04:41PM
Updated Apr 10, 2013 11:10PM

A man has returned two missing Diplodocus femur replicas to the Vernal museum where they belonged.

The femurs belonged to a Diplodocus skeleton and were buried under sand at the Utah Field House of Natural History, at 496 E. Main St., so children could play with them. The rest of the skeleton was in storage. When museum employees went to collect all the concrete bones on Friday to ship the whole skeleton to a museum in Price, they were gone, said Steve Sroka, the museum manager.

It turns out the "theft" was a misunderstanding. Someone had told the man, who works for a contractor that does landscaping for the museum, that he could take the femurs home with him, said Mary Beth Bottomley, curator of education at the museum. When the man heard a radio story on Monday about the museum’s plea for the femurs to be returned — no questions asked — he immediately did so, Bottomley said.

Now the complete skeleton is on its way to its new home at the Prehistoric Museum in Price. Ken Carpenter, director of the museum, said he plans to debut the Diplodocus at Utah State University Eastern before moving it into the downtown building.

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