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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.

Cory Gross
Alberta Palaeontological Society
MRC Earth Sciences Society