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Alberta law footnote



Yesterday I posted a fairly long message regarding the Alberta law and 
fossil related legislation in general.

    I want to mention one other aspect of the Alberta law that troubles 
me, and which I hope is not emulated in any federal or state 
legislation in the US or elsewhere.  That is the stupilation that all 
fossils colelcted in Alberta stay in Alberta.  This is one of those 
things that might sound patriotic at first, but unpon reflection is 
seen to be unnecessary and even counterproductive.  First, one has to 
decide whether fossils are mainly things to hoard and shelter, or share 
with the rest of the world and scientific community.  Second, many 
museums, universities, and individual researchers benefit greatly from 
being able to exchange (through loan, trade, and even sale) specimens 
with each other.  
    or example, say an Alberta museum has collected a dozen nice 
specimens of species X, but has none of species Y or Z, which it needs 
for research or simply wants to expand its collection.  Meanwhile, a 
museum in another Province or country has several specimens of Y and Z, 
but none of X.  What sense is there in requiring that the specimens 
stay in their respective countries of origin?  It not only benefits no 
one, but stiffles progress, education, and public interest in fossils 
and science in general.  Third, any country, province, or state that 
enacts such a policy cannot then expect other countries, provinces, or 
states to provide fossils in a one-way direction only.  Should this 
catch on, the entire enterprise of science, which depends on open 
sharing of information and material with others, would be undermined.  
    The National Academy of Science study I quoted from yesterday also 
looked at this aspect of fossil regulation, and came to a similar 
conclusion, stating (under Recommendation #4 on p. 4):

There is no justification for requiring that fossils be deposited in an 
institution in the same state in which they are found; such 
requirements discourage paleontological research."

Thank you.
  
Glen Kuban
paleo@ix.netcom

P.S.  I apologize for the chunk of disconnected text below my name on 
my long message yesterday.  It was a left-over from my editing, that I 
neglected to delete before sending the message.  

[P.P.S. I apologize also for not reading the entire message before
 sending it on to the list.  I should have caught that too -- MR ]