[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Re[2]: Baucus Bill

> I agree with you in that no one should be insulting the very people whose 
> LIVELYHOOD is dependant on fossils-whether in collections or no.
> make the science we all crave happen.  The rules they request to make their 
> studies easier are important guidelines we should all hold dear.
> However,I object to the seeming exclusion of uneducated amateurs from 
> collecting.

WHAT EXCLUSION???  I had the great fortune two summers ago to be on a
Smithsonian dig where amateurs outnumbered professionals about 3 to 1 (and
there were quite a few professionals)!  Many important discoveries are made
by amateurs, discoveries which are credited by any decent scientist.  If you
check out most first description papers, the discover and the person on
whose land the fossil was found is acknowledged.

(Of course, educated amateurs are the best help, since there are many of
them and they have the skills to know what their finding.  Witness
Carolini's discovery of Giganotosaurus).

> Fossil collecting and it's history throughout, up to, and
> including the last few years has been an amateur thing, as well as a 
> professional thing.  If we amateurs had never bothered to collect because it 
> wasn't something we were trained in and science didn't want us to, science 
> wouldn't have the first icthyosaur, iguanodon, archeopteryx, etc. which were 

Actually, the second two were found in commercial stone quarries, and the first
by a commercial fossil collecter.

> all discovered by amateurs before the importance of the finds were
> by anyone WITH training, and before the science was even invented.  
> Heck, Leonardo Da Vinci collected fossils!!!!!!

Even Homo neanderthalensis collected fossils, actually.
> I know more than most average joes about fossil collecting, but then more
> average joes have collected fossils than I have.  Don't just forbid them
> it.  Train them.  As part of the school kid training, maybe, like  "Don't
> it up if it looks brittle"  or "if it looks like a dead thing, go get an

There is a point many are missing about the Bacchus Bill.  It applies only
the U.S. Federal land, and does not apply at all to private, county, or
state land.  Similar protections apply to collecting live animals and plants
on federal land, while (on the other hand) a U.S. citizen is free to collect
as much fossil invert material as they can carry on their person per day
(but not in some specially protected lands).

I actually am one of a handful of professional paleontologists who spoke out
against some aspects of the SVP position on fossil collecting.  It
would be disingenuous for me to cry for the end of all commercial vertebrate
collection, since many of the specimens I work on were found and collected
by the Sternberg family.  On the other hand, I don't believe the Sternbergs
sold much (if any) of their fossils to non-musuem collectors.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD  20742
Email:Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
Fax: 301-314-9661