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Jeff Poling wrote:

>   So if "Sinosauropteryx" was in a Japanese businessman's private
>collection, analyses should not be published?  That's patently ridiculous.
>I understand you don't think fossils should be privately owned, but going to
>the point of obstructing scientific understanding while fossils are still
>privately owned is nuts.

Actually, it is the rules. The ICZN states that holotype specimens must be
in secure collections that are open to inspection. Private collections do
not fall into this catagorie.

There is a very good reason for this. Private collections are inherently
unstable; they tend to get broken up and specimens change hands frequently.
There is no point is designating a holotype if you don't know where it will
be next year, in 5 years time or 50 years time. This is why public
collections are favoured.

Cheers, Paul

Dr Paul M.A. Willis
Consulting Vertebrate Palaeontologist
Quinkana Pty Ltd