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Re: Those Artifacts for sale (What's New)

rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu (Mickey Rowe):Larry Smith writes:

>> The page is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. Frankly,
>> I wonder about the integrity of any place that will
>> sell you a meteorite from Mars.

>I presume that you are questioning the identity of the object?  If so,
>then your skepticism is probably misplaced.  There are some rare
>meteorites whose composition suggest that they were ejected from the
>Martian surface when previous meteorite(s) struck Mars.

I know there _are_ meteorites that are ascribed a Martian origin - 
but I found it hard to believe that _this_ company should have them
for sale.  But the phrasing using "29. MARS ROCK Rock which fell to
Earth as a Meteorite and believed by Scientists to have orginated [sic]
from the Planet Rock [sic] as a result of expulsion after a meteor hit
the Planet" not only sounds like the Home Shopping Channel dancing around
a qualification, but the typos make them look distinctly back-alley
for purveyors of such expensive objects (two kilobucks a gram!).

>I wonder about the integrity of the place for other reasons.  At the
>risk of inciting another flame war (which I'd rather have avoided by
>keeping the www site from being mentioned here in the first place [No,
>don't worry, Larry, I know you didn't start it.] ...), the prices
>they're charging (and the fact that they report that some high-priced
>items have been sold!) indicate the instantiation of a research
>paleontologist's worst nightmare.  They are, perhaps, dancing on a
>thin line by trying to make items available for study first, but the
>fact that they seem to be doing it in order to authenticate the finds
>and hence get them to command a higher price leaves me feeling a
>more than a little queasy.

I've been looking into their price list - a lot of stuff that I
assumed was a casting or reproduction does on re-reading look they
are supposed to be originals.  I also noticed: "3. Hand Carved Dinosaurs
from Original Dinosaur Bone" - which, if true, should certainly brand
them as an authentic nightmare, even for a free-marketeer such as my-
self.  Destroying a fossil in order to create an art object make _me_
more than a little queasy, it makes me mad.

But there's more: I count no less than five entries for sauropod eggs.
This, in the midst of a debate that notes that there _are_ no proven
sauropod eggs, and in the face of well-known (if not deadly serious)
professionals claiming live birth!  Worse, at least one offering is of
Chinese eggs, and it disingenuously notes they are "no longer" allowed
to be exported so prices will rise!  Given the length of time it has
been illegal to remove dinosaur eggs from China, I find it very improb-
able that these eggs are legit specimens that were exported that long
ago and only _now_ are being offered.  Quite aside from selling such
things as an investment.

I shan't publicize their http page again.

On another note, on another thread I asserted that several powerful
workstations could be bought for the price of one mounting, making
on-line, virtual museums a very attractive alternative.  Someone
denied that, pointing out several remountings for anywhere from $3000
to $44,000 they had done.  I note a Mosasaur mounting for $170,000,
a lambeosaur mounting for $500,000, a tricer skull for $220,000, and
four hypacrosaurus stebbengeri skeletons in a single mount "in any pose
desired" for $2,000,000.  $2,000,000 will buy so much computing hard-
ware it makes my fillings ache.  You could have your on-line virtual
museum for a _lot_ less than that _today_.

The place reminds me of Belloq from Indiana Jones.
Larry Smith