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mammoth sale

I want to clarify a couple of points about the message distributed
here yesterday about the $750,000 mammoth.  First off, I have not
written to the list about it before; a previous comment:

> As a followup to Mickey Rowe's comments on this posting,

arose due to a small bit of confusion because I sent e-mail to the
person who posted the advertisement, and I sent a Bcc of that message
to one person who had previously complained to me about the ad.

If you wish to complain about the ad yourself, you'd best take it up
with the person (Jon Hendrix <JonHendrix@aol.com>) who submitted
it--he won't see any discussion here because he's not a subscriber to
the list.  I've informed him that sending e-mail in the dark like that
is a big no no, so it's not likely he'll repeat his performance.

On his behalf I'd like to clarify a few points about the fossil in
question.  First off, as Paul surmised, the fossil is located on
private land.  It is literally sitting on top of a (potential) gold
mine, so the owner naturally wants it moved.  I'm naive as to what the
excavation costs might be for an animal like this, so I have no idea
how much profit the person is trying to make.  However, it seems that
the current owner (and definitely Mr. Hendrix) wants to have the
specimen moved not only so that he can sell it, but so that it will be
preserved for posterity.  Remember that legally this guy could just
bulldoze it out of his way if he so desired, so that should mitigate
any animus you might feel over the apparent crass commercialism
evident in the first post.  Those of you affiliated with museums might
consider contacting the man to see how rigid the price is.  I realize
3/4 of a million dollars is a bit much for a museum to put into a
single animal--but perhaps a fund drive and a bit of haggling might
bring the fossil into reach.

Also, Mr. Hendrix informed me:

     Understand that the owner of the site is a small businessman, not
     a huge gold mining corporation. He does not have the money,
     knowledge, manpower or time to excavate the fossil himself,
     without doing damage.

Personally, I'd rather see a person ask what might be a ridiculous
price for a specimen and have it excavated properly than to have him
just rip it out without a thought.  Mr. Hendrix and his businessman
friend don't seem to be quite the demons they may have appeared in the
initial ad.

Opinions pro and con welcome.

Mickey Rowe     (rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu)