[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: fossil degradation

Randy wrote:
>There have been references to the degradation that SUE will suffer
>by not being in an atmospherically controlled environment.
>Could someone elaborate on what happens and what information will
>be lost?                                                             

Robert Bakker has testified that SUE's bones contain iron pyrite, the
scourge of museum specimens. Under humid conditions, the pyrite breaks
down into sulphuric acid which rapidly destroys carbonate in the bones.
All testimony on both sides agree that there is pyrite in the fossil,
but the amount is under dispute.

The government's own curator, in a June 9, 1992 affadavit, referred to
the building where SUE is being stored as "less than adequate".

The most idiotic thing that's been done as far as the physical handling
goes was the fact that the fossil was transported needlessly. In the
words of Greg Retallack(University of Oregon paleontologist):

    "This 10 tons of bone and rock was not going anywhere and was no
     secret to scientists or the public. It remains unclear why such
     a valuable specimen was subjected to damaging transportation
     before court determination of it's ownership, after which it will
     now suffer another potentially damaging move".
         (Newsweek, Jan. 11,1993 - Fossils are for Everyone)