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60 million-year-old tree stumps to stay in ND

Petrified tree stump
Petrified tree stump

ALEXANDER, N.D. (AP) -- Petrified 60 million-year-old tree stumps discovered in Alexander are staying in North Dakota.

The stumps were discovered during construction on U.S. Highway 85. Workers loaded at least six of the stumps on trucks bound for Minnesota on Saturday. But then local residents took action.

Wade Aanes owned the land where the stumps were found before it was acquired by the state Department of Transportation. He says the stumps should belong to him or the state and not the company doing roadwork.

The McKenzie County Sheriff's Department is investigating possible theft at the request of Aanes' lawyer.

Now the stumps are being returned. Transportation Department spokeswoman Jamie Olson says the agency is now discussing where the stumps will end up.