Three dinosaur fossils that were repatriated to Morocco from the United States have been showcased at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat. The presentation took place during a meeting presided over by Morocco’s Minister of Youth, Culture, and Communication, Mohammed Mehdi Bensaid.
The fossils include a complete Messosaurus skull originating from the Oued Zem-Khouribga region, as well as the anterior portions of the upper left and right jaws of a Basilosaurid Cetacean from Khouribga. Additionally, a cetacean vertebra, believed to be from a Saghacetus whale, was also returned.
Minister Bensaid emphasized the importance of cultural heritage for Morocco and highlighted the country’s commitment to restitution efforts. He noted that the fossils’ restitution was made possible by a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Morocco and the United States in January 2020 to combat the illicit trafficking of cultural property.
U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Puneet Talwar commended the collaborative efforts between the two nations in protecting and preserving cultural heritage. He also mentioned that the seminar held by the US embassy is the latest example of bilateral cooperation between Morocco and the United States in the cultural field.
Talwar expressed his condolences for the victims of the recent earthquake in Morocco, which caused significant damage to cultural heritage in the affected region. He expressed confidence that Morocco would emerge stronger from this ordeal.
Morocco and the United States signed a partnership for the protection and preservation of cultural property in 2021, facilitating collaboration between law enforcement officials in both countries to combat the illicit trafficking of cultural property.
The preservation of cultural heritage plays a crucial role in national identity and history, Talwar stressed, highlighting Morocco’s rich cultural heritage, which attracts many tourists interested in architecture, art, and culture.
The event also underlined Morocco’s growing awareness, both nationally and internationally, of the impact of illicit cultural property trafficking, prompting efforts to protect and preserve cultural heritage. Moroccan authorities have taken significant steps to address these challenges, including promoting training and expertise exchange.
Morocco remains committed to dedicating competent human resources to the protection of its cultural heritage, emphasized Minister Bensaid. He noted the need to structure this domain further and enhance heritage preservation efforts.
The seminar was part of Morocco’s broader efforts to protect cultural property, especially in light of the recent earthquake. It aimed to develop strategies for safeguarding geological heritage, recognizing its importance as an integral part of natural heritage. The protection and promotion of geological heritage have become key elements of Morocco’s sustainable development goals.
The event highlighted the collaborative spirit between Morocco and the United States in their commitment to safeguarding cultural and geological heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.