Famed Mont. fossil hunter to admit dinosaur crimes

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A Montana paleontologist whose past dinosaur digs brought widespread acclaim intends to plead guilty to stealing fossils from federal land.

Court documents show that Nathan Murphy has reached a plea deal on a federal charge that he stole bones from public land near Malta. He had faced up to 10 years in prison.

The 51-year-old Murphy is a self-taught dinosaur expert who spent much of the last two decades searching for bones in the rocky wastelands of central Montana. He rose to fame in 2000 with his discovery of Leonardo _ a mummified, 77-million-year-old duck-billed hadrosaur considered the world's best preserved dinosaur.

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