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Re: Alberta law footnote
Straight from the beating a dead horse dept.
(sorry, I was on reading week break...)
Well, the Alberta law in no way, shape, or form prevents
fossil collecting by amatuers. It does not discourage it or make it
any harder...if such was the case, then I wouldn't be out there every
season, I don't need the hassle. What the law DOES stipulate is that
surface collecting alone is allowed. common fossils, vertibrate and
invertibrate, are allowed to be collected as long as they are on the
surface; heck, even extremly rare fossils are allowed to be collected
as long as they are on the surface. So if that T-Rex skull or
_dromaeosaurus_ skeleton is just laying there, you can take it
(although one would hope you'd report it to the Tyrrell or PM of A).
If a fossil is ON the ground and rots away, it's not the law's fault,
just no one came around to PICK IT UP. The law's purpose it to try to
stop unlicensed amatuers from screwing up those skulls and skeletons
which, lookout, are usually stuck IN THE GROUND.
If someone were to think that it's some big "more for me"
thing, then they should try fossiling(my term for it) around the
Drumheller area(my stomping grounds)...if you find something, you're
pretty lucky. Or better yet, go out in August or September after
everyone and their dog has been crawling around the badlands...I'll
give you a month's salary if you find anything. Actually, this calls
into question various peoples goals for going out collecting. I go
out to have a good time, hike, and if I find something...added bonus.
If you go out with shovels, pick-axes, and dinamite intent on digging
up the "big one"...then yah, you may be a little pissed with the
Alberta law; but then, why are you out there? To further science or
your own ego? Howzabout interior decorating?
I'm not entirelly sure about the US law, but my Geology class
goes out on field trips, and the APS is out there every summer
plundering Alberta's fossil resources ;-).
For this next paragraph, maybe Darren Tanke or someone
else from the Tyrrell could clear it up a bit. in the news, it seems
like there is a major find for the Tyrrell made by amatuers at least
once a month. The most recent of which was a set of tracks found by a
6(?) year old kid. And there have been skeletons and the famous
Devil's Coulee nest sites...one interesting note is that most of
these finds were made by people who weren't paleo-amatuers out there
fossiling. I know personally and of people who continued to donate a
hell of a lot of material to our institutions over their entire
lives, not stopping when the law was enacted. Plus, I think that if
the museums filled out the proper paperwork, then fossil trade for
scientific ends is allowed.
I concur that there are many (mostly?) skilled amatuers and
comercial fossil hunters that work to benevolent ends, I'd like to
think that I'm among them. But there are also no-brains out there
hacking away at bones or just looking to make a quick buck, and thats
what the law's there to stop.
Alberta Palaeontological Society
MRC Earth Sciences Society