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Re: private collecting

>Steve Cole (is that his name?) r aised some points about private
>collecting that seem based on a m isunderstanding.  It's not so
>much the availability of specimens in p rivate collections, but 
>the loss of context  that is the trouble with private collecting.
>Nobody worries if thousands of teeth and so forth are in private
>hands, but when commercial co llectors go over a site they ignore
>and even destroy anything they don 't collect.  That means that
>we have no idea of the way of life (or of death ) of the creatures.
>Nowadays, much of professional palaeontology is concerned not so
>much with individual species an d anatomy, though that is fun,
>especially to amateurs, but more with reconstructing the life
>conditions of the past.  This is the information that is lost
>from commercial collectin g.
>       Sure, a museum can buy bones for less than it would take
>to mount an expedition to collect them, but then they are out
>of context.

   MAYBE.  I don't think, though, that you can paint your picture with so
broad a brush.  If I could actually afford real fossils, I'd be just as
interested in the "context" as the fossil itself.  Fossils that were
properly collected and had a story to tell would be worth more to me than
others.  The economics of this, though, can't be ignored.

   Oh, and BTW.  I sold at a show this past weekend.  I never realized how
DANGEROUS it is for kids visiting these types of shows.  If I had heard one
more kid call the Mamenchisaurus a "long neck" or the T. rex a "sharp tooth"
I would have inflicted serious bodily injury on them.......

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