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Re: The Dinosaur Egg Debate
I have preferred to lurk during the ameteur vs professional debate until now.
IMHO, there are two major types of paleontologist:
1)The professional i.e PhD types who work for varoius institutions etc.
2) The non-professionals of which there are several sub-types;
a. Para-professionals (Persons working toward Type #1)
i. Graduate Students
ii. Undergrad Studens
. i. Private citizens that posess the zeal and the ability to learn
enough of a "specialty" to practically operate independantly and publish
their work, but do not hold a degree. In other words, they contribute to the
a.Serious Ameteurs. (self explanitary)
b. Hobbyists and those with no interest/ability or desire to contribute to
Which leads to the last (and least type)
Inconsiderate ameteurs and unscrupulous persons that raid valuable collecting
localities, destroy a fossils scientific value, turn a fossil into jewelry,
lamps, (or worse) or dismember specimens to sell piece meal for prices beyond
that which a respected institution could hope to pay (if the specimen had
great scientific value). These people also have no regard for property
rights, trespass and continue to do so even after being caught and warned,
and damage established "professional" sites etc.
Type 4 non-paleontologists are what cause all of us problems. These are the
people that should be ostracised and discredited in the eyes of the
lay-public in the hope to decrease demand for brokered fossils. Because of
inconsiderate trespassers , Calvert Cliffs in Maryland is no longer
accessible to types 2 and 3 except at two fair to poor locations. As a
representaive of type 2. sub a. ii, I have had the personal displeasure of
running into type 4's at _THE_ONLY_ place in Maryland that (Dr. Holtz
probably knows where) one can collect Lower Cretaceous vertebrate material.
I am sworn to secrecy as to it's location! The owners are very leary of
"strangers" and require clearance from the Smithsonian before they would
even consider granting permission! There are only 3 or 4 people including
myself that have permission to enter at all and I am the only one that has
been given the key to the place! I met a type 3 who claims to be only
interested in collecting sequoia cones but tramples indiscriminantly over a
section of the outcrop that the I have been concentrating my efforts in (for
good reason) potentially damaging material that is usaually already badly
damaged by company activity.
I have also ran into trespassers from _rock_clubs_ who want specimens for
their show and swap tables.
It has taken me nearly 5 years to earn the trust of the owner involved and
it really irritates me when I run into type 4's! I even report such sightings
ASAP but of course nothing can be done unless they are caught.
Do not get me wrong though! I am as big a capitalist as the next guy and also
have been a type 3a before I set out to reach type 1 status (and may have
been guilty of ignorance myself >20 years ago). But the way things are today
with information exchange etc. I see NO reason at all where the type 3b's and
4's cannot be aware of the harm and trouble they cause. I have/do try to
encourage such persons if the opportunity presents itself but I do not get
confrontational and this has had little effect. As far as the sale of fossils
goes, unless it is on private property I am beginning to wonder if more
stringent measures be employed to discourage type 3b and type 4 behaviour!
Am I being too overzealous?
Thomas R. Lipka