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  Geotimes - March 2008 - Battle over bones in China
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Battle over bones in China

Seven Chinese farmers who turned to violence last spring when police seized a cache of illegally excavated dinosaur bones could face prison sentences, according to a National Geographic News report on Nov. 27, 2007.

A 2006 Chinese law bans unauthorized excavation, possession and sale of fossils, but demand for the rare bones, which can fetch large sums, persists. After the government called on residents of Shaping Village in central Henan Province to turn over their fossils, the villagers formed a “dinosaur protection squad” complete with civilian sentinels and around-the-clock patrols.

When a group of government officials and security officers arrived in March 2007 to claim the fossils, villagers formed a human barricade and commandeered a couple of police vehicles, National Geographic News reported.

When police returned a week later, the villagers tried to hold them at bay with hoes and other farm tools. Eventually the police brought seven ringleaders into custody. The farmers, who are awaiting trial, could face up to three years in prison.

Cassandra Willyard

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