Judges: Dinosaur fossils subject to mineral rights laws

Judges: Dinosaur fossils subject to mineral rights laws
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The fight over who owns the 66-million-year-old fossils of two dinosaurs that appear to be locked in battle may turn on how a “mineral” is defined.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a split decision saying the so-called “Dueling Dinosaurs” found on private land near the eastern Montana town of Jordan are “minerals” both scientifically and under mineral rights laws.

Under that Nov. 6 ruling, property owners Lige and Mary Ann Murray would share ownership with two brothers who retained two-thirds of the mineral rights to land once owned by their father.

But the federal court battle may not be over.

Attorneys for the Murrays, who are seeking sole ownership of the fossils worth millions of dollars, asked for more time to decide if they’ll seek a re-hearing.

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