Italian Customs Authorities Seized a Dinosaur Egg Hidden In a Package

The fossil was found in a package sent from Malaysia and once belonged to a Shunosaur, a sauropod that lived millions of years ago, authorities said.
June 15, 2021, 1:00pm
Italian Authorities Found a Smuggled Dinosaur Egg Hidden In a Package
Image: Facebook/Agenzia Dogane e Monopoli-ADM

Italian authorities discovered an authentic fossilized dinosaur egg during a routine customs check, the Customs and Monopolies Agency announced on Sunday. 

In a Facebook post, authorities said that the egg had been found at Milan Bergamo Airport in Northern Italy in a package sent from Malaysia. A video embedded in the post appears to show a large and strikingly intact, pasty-colored egg. 

“Even dinosaurs pass through customs,” the Facebook post reads. “As part of [customs] checks on e-commerce goods aimed at fighting the illegal import of goods, we found an authentic fossil egg embedded in a rocky sediment inside a package [...] This discovery was accompanied by a certificate of origin with dubious authenticity issued by an organization which was later found to be non-existent.” 

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The egg was later given to the regional Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape, who identified it as coming from a Shunosaurus, according to the Facebook post. Shunosaurus is estimated to be a 32-foot long sauropod, and fossils were first discovered in China and described in 1983 by a team of scientists. The dinosaur, being a sauropod, was among the largest animals ever to walk the Earth and lived some 159 million years ago. 

This is not the first time that dinosaur eggs have been smuggled through national borders. In 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had discovered 22 unhatched dinosaur eggs at an auction house in California. Those eggs, too, were thought to be smuggled from China. 

According to customs officials, the intended recipient renounced the package and ownership of the egg was transferred to the Italian state. In the future, the egg will be put on display, according to the announcement by authorities. 

The Italian Customs and Monopolies Agency and Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Bergamo did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Motherboard.