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Re: Fossils/mineral rights
>In the South Dakota T. rex civil case, the ruling did not center on
>whether fossils are to be treated as mineral resources or not. It
>centered on land ownership and permission. That case has now been decided
>and does not come into the criminal proceedings on other counts. There
>has been no discussion that I have heard on the underlying resource law
>issue in the T. rex case. In fact, many people are lobbying to ensure
>that paleo resources on public lands are not treated as mineral
>resources. I will not reduce you to tears of tedium by downloadinbg the
>whole saga...but check your facts, please.
What I've read, lead me to understand that the court ruled that the
T-rex fossil was considered real estate at the time Maurice Williams
sold it to Pete Larson. Since Mr. Williams' land was held in trust by
the US government, for tribal members, permission of the tribe and the
government were required before sale. Since this wasn't obtained,
the court voided the sale and returned ownership to Mr. Williams.
Anyone who knows better, feel free to correct me (gently please).
The really sad thing about Sue, was that Pete Larson was apparently
trying to obtain as much scientific value from the fossil as possible,
and had made access available to other paleontologists. Eventually,
Sue was to be the centerpiece in a new museum (in Hill City I believe).
Now, greed and egos have made it a real possiblity that Sue could
end up outside this country, owned by the highest bidding, eccentric
collector, with no guarantee of public display or further study.
I know of other commercial fossil companies driven almost entirely
by the dollar value of their business. I wish the government(s) would
focus on some of them and give the BHIGR a break.