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Re: Fossil Ownership



Roger Stephenson wrote:

>Well it truely sadens me to read that there are some .... on this
>list that think all fosssils, dinosaurian or otherwise, belong to the
>scientific community.....<snip again>..... here in the United States 
>we still have the right to do with
>our land as we see fit....etc.

I hope you don't mind me putting in my 2p here for the Scots (I think
it is the same for the rest of the UK too) but all fossils here belong
to the owner of the mineral rights.  It is only through the goodwill
of these people/consortia that museums, scientific community and
collectors that fossils come into public ownership either free or at a
price.  Unless at some future date all mineral rights become public
property (ie of the state) then that is the way it is going to
be.... certainly here.  Fossils cannot be treated in the same way as
archaeological artifacts.  The more I deal with the legal eagles over
here, the more I find this to be the case.  I have learned to live
with it and to build strong ties with mineral rights
owners..... though not always easy.

I have a page on fossil collecting in Scotland, but I don't think it
says anything different to the above.

http://www.gla.ac.uk/~gxha14/scotcol/index.html

Also see a page on the happy cooperation between mineral rights owners
and the scientific community that has yielded some important tetrapod
trackways and protected some for local schools and community groups.

http://www.gla.ac.uk/~gxha14/elgin.html

I hope there is nothing controversial here as I am only giving an
example in real life of how it works in Scotland.  I echo MR and hope
the discussion remains cool.

[ So far I've been pretty pleased (and admittedly a bit surprised) by
  the calm tenor of the messages in this thread.  Good work everyone!
  -- MR ]

Neil

Dr Neil D. L. Clark
Curator of Palaeontology
Hunterian Museum
Glasgow University