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Re: FOSSIL REPLICAS



> I'm surprised that museums don't sell more replicas in their souvenir shops. I
>think it would be a marvelous way of both funding the museum and promoting
>paleontology. I know I bought a T.rex tooth replica at the Royal Tyrrell
>Museum. I would like to buy a T.rex skull replica, but the cost (thousands of
>dollars) is ridiculous.

The main reason - money.  Museums are being forced to let preparators (as
well as curators) go because of lack of funds.  If the research specimens
aren't being prepared, there certainly isn't someone around to do multiple
copies of attractive specimens.

However, when/if the museum get back to hiring prepartors, I think that
that is a wonderful idea.

> Museums could also sell fiberglass replica mounts to other museums to make the
>first-class displays accessible to more people. Right now the Tyrrell Museum is
>the nearest place that I can look at mounts. It is a thousand mile round trip,
>so I'm lucky to see a dinosaur mount once a decade (I have been twice in 20
>years). In order to see a Brachiosaurus, I would have to make a 6000 mile round
>trip! So if the Carnegie Institute (is that where it is?) 

Actually, the real one is on display in the Humbolt Museum in Berlin, and
casts are on display in Switzerland and in the Field Museum in Chicago.

>would be willing to
>trade the Tyrrell Museum a Brachiosaurus replica for say an Albertosaurus
>replica, it seems to me that the public and both of the museums would benefit.

There used to be a trade in casts & actual specimens among museums. 
However, many musuems are really strapped for funds, and can barely keep
their own staff on hire, so that finding the funds for transportation and
mounting (at the bare minimum) are prohibitively expensive.

I always thought the best solution to the Sue problem was to keep the real
specimen in the Smithsonian (the U.S. federal museum), while casts could be
provided to BHI and the Souix nation.
                                     
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist in Exile
U.S. Geological Survey
Branch of Paleontology & Stratigraphy
MS 970 National Center
Reston, VA  22092

email:  tholtz@geochange.er.usgs.gov 
Phone:  703-648-5280
FAX:            703-648-5420