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Re: FOSSIL OWNERSHIP



This thread is almost a word-perfect repeat of the same subject discussed
on this list about a year ago (that thread started with the Johnson Bill).

While the some of the points raised by Steve Cole's recent post are valid,
the concept that commercial collectors will help to boost museum
collections does not hold up to scrutiny. An analysis of the origin of 1.8
million specimens in museum collections across the US revealed that 96%
were collected and deposited in the museum collection as a result of
scientific research or directly by museum collecting activities. 3% were
donations from the general public. Less than 1% were derived from
commercial collectors.

I think the answer is to have public ownership of important and rare
specimens provided public institutions are given a budget that allows them
to sufficiently meet this charter. As to what constitutes an important or
rare specimen, I don't think that another hadrosaur metatarsal would
qualify, but this should be thought through by a body of people with
greater knowledge of regional fossil resources.

Cheers, Paul

Dr Paul M.A. Willis
Consulting Vertebrate Palaeontologist
Quinkana Pty Ltd
pwillis@ozemail.com.au