A report carried out by the Spanish news source, El Mondo, exposes the trafficking of dinosaur fossils dating back to more than 500 million years ago in the area of Anti-Atlas in Morocco.
Published on August 16, the report took the statements of a local seller in the area of Arfoud in the Anti-Atlas, south of Morocco, a Spanish geologist, and a Spanish Paleontologist.
The report explains that the locals of the area drive 12 hours each day and use their picks and shovels to dig holes that are 5-meters deep in search for dinosaurs’ remains. Most of what they find is trilobites, a creature that lived in the sea 542 million years ago. If they are lucky, however, they might come across dinosaur jaws that considered rare in this trafficking business.
The seller interviewed in the city of Arfoud states that he sells these rare items to the tourists coming to his shop. However, he keeps the dinosaur bones in a warehouse and he sells them to American and European collectors for USD 3,000 a piece.
According to the report, 2,000 Moroccan families live off this trade and that the mentioned selling point has become a place where “Berber choppers, businessmen, collectors, scientists, bone dealers and professional counterfeiters coexist.”
The Spanish geologist named Juan Aviles says that he only buys from licensed sellers, whereas the paleontologist is quoted to say that the absence of laws regulating the sell of dinosaur fossils “leaves the geographical heritage unprotected.”
He recounted that in 2017, a dinosaur tail was sold in Mexico for $ 96,000 and later the Moroccan authorities have claimed that it was taken illegally from Morocco, and suggested that Morocco should take advantage of economically.