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Every Bone is Precious

Roger Stephenson (Lightwaves@aol.com) laments:
> I saw the results of weathering on cretaceous bones, and it's not a pretty
> sight.  In fact it's very sad to see a hadrosaur femur turning to rubble. We,
> dino freaks, need to raise a lot of money to recover as much material as we
> can before these world treasures are lost forever.

Don't get too depressed, the Cretaceous outcrops presently accessible have
been eroding for millions, even tens of millions of years.  Mesozoic rock
strata extend underground where they are protected by overlying Tertiary
and Quaternary sediments thousands of meters deep.  There will continue to
be Cretaceous fossils coming to the surface (or rather, the surface retreating
to expose the fossils) for the foreseeable future.  And, as far as undertaking
massive programs to salvage all possible fossil material is concerned,
wouldn't it make sense to spend some of that money developing deep
subterranean-imaging sonar and/or radar technology?  Once we had that, we
could scan the hills, pinpoint the best examples of new fossil localities
where they lie undisturbed, then dig directly to them.

    ``In a few years we won't even have to dig anymore.''
    ``Where's the fun in that?''

I'm not saying paleontology couldn't benefit from expanded prospecting and
excavation programs; just pointing out that the world is in no real danger
of running out of interesting fossils due to erosion.

Mike Bonham     bonham@jade.ab.ca