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Re: Press Release from BHIGR

At 04:19 PM 12/11/97 +0000, you wrote:
>I'm posting this release that I received this morning, I found it
>interesting and thought it might spur some debate.
>------------------------ Posting Follows--------------------------
>How Much Public Land - How Many Fossils?
>Marion K. Zenker, Legislative Liaison
>American Land Access Association & American Association of Paleontological
>As you investigate the question of who should be allowed to collect on the
>public lands managed by the Federal Government, a few accurate figures as
>to the amount of land that entails may help to bring some rationality to
>the debate.  A recent article written by Alexandra Zavis of Chicago and
>picked up by the AP early in November provides the information that there
>are a "half-billion acres of land owned by the Federal Government" on which
>only scientists are presently allowed to collect vertebrate fossils.
>Here is an example of how much land that really is and how long it will
>take to walk over it just once in search of fossils.  Assume you have an
>exposed fossil bearing area, level enough to systematically search the area
>on a uniform grid pattern.  If you measure out a one-square mile area (1
>square mile equals 640 acres or 1 section of land), lay out a grid of 9
>foot wide sections (assuming that you can see 4.5 feet on each side of you
>well enough to check for fossils) and begin walking that grid - if you
>cover 20 miles a day, it will take one person just over 29 days to examine
>that one square mile area.  This is just looking for fossils, not stopping
>to examine or collect any that you might find.
>One-half billion acres equals 780,000 square miles.  At one square mile
>every 29 days (assuming the rate of 20 miles per day) it will take 62,600
>years for one person to simply look for the exposed fossils on the
>half-billion acres of lands in the United States.  Add that to the example
>provided by Dr. Charles Love that one-half mile of one fossil bearing
>formation - the Green River Formation - contains more then 12 billion
>fossil fish - and you begin to understand just how many fossils need
>finding.  Therefore, the logical conclusion is that we need many people
>looking and finding and collecting if we are to save even a small
>percentage of this abundant resource for science or display or sale.
>For city dwellers, these figures may better be visualized by calculating
>the distance thus: in most cities, one mile equals the length of 12 city
>blocks and the width of an alley would be about the 9 foot swath that is
>being searched.  The fossil searcher would have to walk the equivalent of
>240 city blocks (20 miles) every day for 29.5 days to cover the same area
>as one square mile in the field.
>So how mush longer would it take if these searchers were walking across
>rough terrain and actually stopping to examine even one fossil per mile?
>It is obvious that we need literally thousands of people out there looking
>and collecting and even then we will save only a very small percentage of
>the fossils on this half billion acres from the sun, wind, snow, and rain.
>George Winters, President
>Global Expos
>Internet Wep Page and Graphic Design
>174 Broad St.,P.O. Box 305
>Glens Falls, NY 12801
>Phone:(518) 745-4139
>Fax: (518) 793-4467
>ichat PAGER - Global-Expos
>e-mail george@global-expos.com
>visit our site at: http://www.global-expos.com
> Yes, yes. But if you go to where there are actually vertebrate fossil
exposures on those half billion acres you will find semi-filled-in holes
full of bits of plaster, burlap, aluminum foil(especially if you are in
South Dakota), uncollected fossil bone(but never skulls), and numerous Merit
cigarette butts. You're not kidding me. Been there.
 Dan Varner