9th Circ. Asks Mont. High Court: Are Dino Fossils Minerals?

By Juan Carlos Rodriguez (May 21, 2019, 5:45 PM EDT) -- Tens of millions of years ago on a humid, forested coastal plain that's now Montana, a carnivorous dinosaur and a herbivorous one fought each other to the death. Over time, their bodies turned into excellent fossils, and with their recent discovery arose a legal question: Who owns the bones?

An en banc Ninth Circuit panel on Monday asked the Montana Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter, saying the federal appeals court can't decide whether dinosaur fossils are part of the surface estate or the mineral estate under Montana law because the state high court has never addressed the question....

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