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Re: FOSSIL OWNERSHIP



At 04:40 PM 12/16/96 -0800, Lawrence Dunn wrote:

> Caitlin can probably correct me on this if I'm wrong, but I got the
> impression that she meant that, as a practical matter, it would be a
> lot more difficult to evaluate it, especially if it's really
> valuable.  First you have to get Mr. Yamamoto's permission to even
> look at Sinsauropteryx.  Can we take it back to the center,
> Yamamoto-san, or do we need to look at it in the lobby?  Then,
> regardless of where you're analyzing it, you are treading on
> eggshells with his expensive hunk of matrix and bone.  You'd
> naturally be a little more inquisitive and spirited in your analysis
> of a fossil if it didn't belong to someone who paid some big bundle
> of dough for it.  Maybe I'm wrong here; since I'm not a
> professional, degreed paleontologist, my opinion is probably pretty
> dumb.  All of us non-pros should keep that in mind!

   I'm not arguing whether holotypes should or should not reside in private
collections.  I'm arguing the point of whether they should be studied and
published when they do.  Yes, the points you bring up would be issues ... my
point is DEAL with them and get the doggone thing studied.  For a (generic
unnamed person) to be so concerned about the stability, availability and
possible destruction of privately owned fossils, yet refuse to study and
publish on an important find that may never again be available, strikes me
as a bit strange.

[ Personally I think that's because you're not taking into account the
  reason that fossils are declared to be holotypes.  They *have* to be
  available for comparison with fossils found later.  Otherwise
  there's little point in designating them holotypes...  -- MR ]

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