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re:reply to "class III human"
Paul Sparks wrote basically arguing for the virtues of amateur
I certainly agree with the spirit that amateurs (sensu that they are
not paid to collect) are very important to the science.
The problem is in the notion that "fossils left alone or to weather are
lost" or some sort of argument like that.
True, weathering certainly eliminates many important specimens (and
like Sparks, I work in the east where stream action scours outcrops
But, IMHO fossils improperly collected, without adequate provenance and siter
data, especially when someone has screwed up the locality info,
is worse than no specimen retrieval at all. I often encounter amateurs who
claim to have collected Cretaceous materials where there is no possible
source. When we go to the site they suddenly remember that their brother or
someone found it a couple of years back down somewhere....
Amateurs, collecting to sell the specimen, seriously damaged and lost
much of what was probably once the finest Deinosuchid crocodile skull known.
I have the remains in my lab, with about 200 recent breaks and over
50 bounds of bone chips <.5 cm>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[
have been nearly
complete before they got their (literally) sledge hammers on it.
Sure, if amateurs had not located the specimen it might have remained undiscove
it also might have been collected properly if left untouched
until a knowledgable person found it.
In essence, good amateurs collecting for research, with training or
the sense to call in a professional, are the greatest asset the
profession has (aside from ziplock bags). Bad amateurs are worse
than erosion, IMHO.