Nicolas Cage.
Nicolas Cage. Bang ShowBiz

Nicolas Cage to return stolen skull worth $276k

NICOLAS Cage has agreed to return a stolen dinosaur skull to the Mongolian government.

The 'Face/Off' actor splashed out $276,0000 to buy the rare Tyrannosaurus bataar skull from Beverly Hills gallery I.M. Chait in 2007 and though he was given a certificate of authenticity, he was contacted by the Department of Homeland Security in July 2014 and informed the 70-million-year-old artefact may have been stolen.

After an investigation confirmed the fossil - which Leonardo DiCaprio had also made a bid for - had been illegally taken out of Mongolia, the 51-year-old actor agreed to return it, his spokesperson confirmed.

Nicolas and the gallery are not accused of any wrongdoing.

The skull will be returned to the US authorities and then repatriated to Mongolia.

The US attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, filed a civil forfeiture complaint to take possession of the Tyrannosaurus bataar skull last week.

Since 2012, Bharara's office has recovered over a dozen Mongolian fossils, including three full Tyrannosaurus bataar skeletons.

The attorney said recently: "Each of these fossils represents a culturally and scientifically important artefact looted from its rightful owner,"