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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.

DAvid

--
>From: David Brez Carlisle
bk090@Freenet Carleton.CA