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Re[2]: Baucus Bill


______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Baucus Bill
Author:  UKCC.uky.edu!JFCOST00
Originator: dinosaur@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu at 
Date:    9/28/95 3:49 PM

Fossils are not mere curios to be bought/traded and made into jewelry and 
dust-gathering knick-knacks.  If a fossil ends up in a museum, there is a 
chance that someday it will be studied by a scientist, even 100 years from 
now. An important fossil in an amateur collection is lost to science.  
However, the vast majority of fossils are common enough that no one objects 
to it being in private hands. By pushing this issue with rather strong 
rhetoric, people like Mr. Poling will end up alienating the scientific 
community and amateur paleontology will end up regulated as harshly as 
archaeology.  In short, amateurs should be learning about the science of 
paleontology, not just collecting dust gatherers.  Professional 
paleontologists in turn should be educating the public.
 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.  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 
 all discovered by amateurs before the importance of the finds were recognised 
 by anyone WITH training, and before the science was even invented.  
 Paleontology's own history would not exist without amateurs' interest in 
 something outside their own training.  
 Heck, Leonardo Da Vinci collected fossils!!!!!!
 I suggest that in all likelihood, the fossil collections in the British Museum 
 and Yale were GRANDLY supported by the private collections of Victorians that 
 used fossils as the very knick-knacks you abhor.
 I wouldn't want to go out merely to make a knick-knack out of a very nice 
 fossil, but I would like to go out and collect with what understanding I have 
 of the subject, ignorant or not, and donate, deliver, collect for a museum if 
 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 from 
 it.  Train them.  As part of the school kid training, maybe, like  "Don't pick 
 it up if it looks brittle"  or "if it looks like a dead thing, go get an adult"