A dinosaur fossil that was probably illegally brought to Germany has been returned to Brazil. The fossil of the dinosaur Ubirajara jubatus arrived in Brazil on Sunday, the Ministry of Science announced.

Representatives from the Ministry of Science, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Embassy and the University of Cariri opened the boxes and inspected the material. “The Ministry of Science spared no effort to make Ubirajara’s return possible. However, without the mobilization of the Brazilian scientific community, we would not have been successful. The German government listened to our requests and together we achieved this victory,” said the Secretary for Science and Technology and Social Development, Inácio Arruda.

First feathered but flightless dinosaur

Ubirajara jubatus is from the Cretaceous period and lived about 110 to 115 million years ago. The carnivore, which is only about one meter tall, is said to be the first feathered but flightless dinosaur in the southern hemisphere. The fossil was found in a quarry in the state of Ceará in northeastern Brazil and brought to Germany in 1995. Most recently it belonged to the collection of the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe. Experts in Brazil claimed the fossil was illegally taken out of the country.

Initially, the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science took the position that there was no evidence that the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe had illegally acquired the petrified remains. In July last year, however, it announced that the museum had given incorrect information about the import of the fossil. The ministry explained that the museum was unable to provide any documents from Brazilian authorities that would prove the declaration and customs clearance of the fossil when it was exported. In particular, there is no export license from Brazil.