The greatest headline of all-time is “Nicolas Cage Agrees to Return Stolen Dinosaur Skull to Mongolia.” Disagree if you like, and produce all the other challengers you can find, but please know that you are and will continue to be very wrong. There’s just too much going on in this one and every part of it is beautiful. I appreciate a different part of it every time I read it. Right now I’m tickled by the word “agrees” because it introduces the possibility of a scenario where he did not agree and a major international incident developed over Nicolas Cage’s refusal to return a stolen dinosaur skull to the Mongolian government.
The only tiny downside of the headline is that the wording seems to imply that Nicolas Cage stole the dinosaur skull from the Mongolian government himself. He did not. It would have been kind of perfect if he had, though, because of everything we know about him and every movie he’s made since 1997. Even the New York Times acknowledged this in their article about it.
As it turns out, the skull had been stolen from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, and the buyer was Nicolas Cage, an actor who among his dozens of films has starred in a movie franchise about the hunt for rare treasures.
A publicist for Mr. Cage confirmed that he bought the skull from the Beverly Hills gallery I.M. Chait in 2007, according to Reuters. The Department of Homeland Security contacted Mr. Cage about the skull last year, and the actor agreed to turn it over.
The other great thing about this story, as if it needed anything else, is that, if you track down that Reuters article, you will discover that Nicolas Cage only got his hands on the tyrannosaurus skull by outbidding Leonardo DiCaprio at the auction. Please do take a moment here to work up a full visual of Nicolas Cage and Leonardo DiCaprio in a bidding war over a dinosaur skull at an auction house. But only take that moment, because we have more to discuss.