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As a lay-person - amateur I have a strong desire to learn more about
paleontolgy I have been on the list for some time now and I have learned
a great deal from your discussions, I am in contact with a few
perfessionals who are willing to communicate with an amatuer and not
blast my head off because I may ask a ridiculous question (not to me)
or one that may have been answered before I ask, or someone who makes it
painfully clear they do not communicate with anyone they consider of
a lesser degree of knowledge or intelligence.
  Your fine post about amateur vs prof. did finally spur me to comment 
in public on the fine opportunity presented here to teach people who 
are genuinely interested about your vocations. 
  In return perhaps these laypersons questions may cause some of you to
scratch your head and do some more research in your field in order to
answer some questions with an open mind and not just a quip off the
top of your head.
  I am sure you can give us referances for books and web sites to 
help illustrate your answers.            
  Teaching is one of the most enjoyable and soul satisfying endeavers
of mankind.
                                      so many questions
                                      so few answers
                                      Earl Wood