Australian Heritage Minister Peter Garrett said on Saturday that China has given Australia six rare fossils as a gift for thanking the Australian authorities seizing fossils smuggled from China.
The six fossils were among 750 kilograms of fossil items, including dinosaur eggs, reptiles and crustaceans, which were imported illegally from China and seized by Australian Federal Police and environment department officers in operations between 2004 and 2007. They were returned to the Chinese government in January this year.
To thank the Australian government, China had given six of the fossils to Australia, which would go on immediate display at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Garrett said.
John Long, a paleontologist at Museum Victoria, which received the donation, said some of the seized items were so rare it was difficult to put a commercial price on them.
"But in terms of their scientific value, they' re extremely important - we don't have anything like these complete marine reptiles from any site in Australia, so it's wonderful to have them here," he told reporters.