The Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication, Mehdi Bensaid chaired yesterday, Thursday March 3, 2022 in Rabat, the ceremony of presentation of a fossil crocodile skull returned to Morocco by the American authorities.
This property, which had been illegally taken out of the Kingdom and which was in the United States, had been seized in 2014 among 7,000 artefacts, during a control operation in a farm belonging to an American amateur archaeologist, in the State of ‘Indiana.
This ceremony, organized at the Rabat Zoological Park, was also an opportunity to present paleontological fossils repatriated to Morocco.
“We are meeting here today, at the Rabat Zoo, on the occasion of this ceremony to remind those who make the History of Peoples and species a lucrative market, that we are committed, with our partners, that History remains a common good of humanity, and that it is up to us, as leaders, to watch over this essential duty of memory.said the Moroccan minister in a speech delivered on this occasion.
“This fossil which has crossed the centuries protected in the Moroccan rock can now return there and will tell us its story, and will reveal to us several of its secrets.” , he added.
The fossil skull of Crocodilus phosphaticus was found by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations at a farm belonging to an American amateur archaeologist in the state of Indiana in 2014, alongside 7,000 other artifacts. This restitution is part of the implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the measures to be taken to prohibit and prevent the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property.
This operation is part of the implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the measures to be taken to prohibit and prevent the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property, specifies the press release.
Anxious to preserve its national heritage, Morocco repatriated, in 2021, some 25,000 artefacts of great geological, archaeological and ethnographic importance, originating from sites located in the south of the Kingdom and in the Anti-Atlas, and dating from the Prehistory, the statement said.
According to the press release, the phosphate deposits in Morocco are particularly rich in crocodile fossils, which allow scientists to know the ancient biogeographical diversity and the evolutionary history of the various species present, which explains the enthusiasm for this illegal trade.