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Reply to Mr Gertsch regarding commercial collectors and
I accept no ignorance of what museums do. You didn't seem to notice
that the bones I have would have eroded away into dust if
they were not collected when they were collected by whom collected them.
They came with very nice typewritten notes on where they
were found, formation, and everything else.
The specific location is recorded by the company that got it,
a company that has taken 'real' scientists back out there
by arrangement when needed. The local museum knows what I have
and are welcome to borrow them whenever they want.
And my comments still stand, unchallenged apparently, regarding
the potential use of commercial collection agents by museums.
You should be doing this. If you aren't, you're not only missing
the boat but doing a disservice to the entire community.
If you, and other museums, used commercial collectors to get
the stuff you want (and remember that you'd pay them less
for what you specifically want than you'd gamble that your own
expedition would find just the right thing) AND INSISTED ON the
proper documentation to professional standards, you'd get it.
Think about it. A commercial collector is told that the
East-West-North-South-Central School of Mines is looking
for Pseudosaurus stuff. They make a note to look for that,
and perhaps select "where do we go today" based on what YOU
want. Since they're standing by the bone in situ, and since
you've established what data you want, they record the data.
It's worth it to commercial collectors to do the extra work
because they're going to have a broader market if museums are
buying too. BUT BEYOND THAT, those commecial collectors are going
to start doing that kind of documentation on every bone they
find just in case the next museum to call happens to want the
bone they found last week. And if I happen to buy that bone
before they knew you wanted it, I got even cooler documentation
than I get now.
You pros who run museums are really missing the boat if you
don't try to use the commercial collectors instead of just
broad-brush condemning them for not doing the kind of documentation
that the best of them do provide.