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Caitlin said, responding to Mary:

>It would be even better to hear that a cast and not the actual fossil is
>being mounted for display...

Disagree vehemently. Fossils should be seen; I love good casts and applaud
the science and craft that goes into making them, but they are a substitute
for the real thing, ESPECIALLY in public museums, and not a replacement.

The knowledge that you are looking at the real thing, the actual mortal
framework of a creature that died a hundred million years ago, just isn't
there with a cast. And that knowledge is a big part of creating and
maintaining interest in dinosaur science.

Someday we will be able to find a fossil in the rock and study it, in
detail, in situ . . . while it remains safely cradled in yards of matrix.
The ultimate preservationist scenario. Any museum will be able to display
holograms of any species in the libary, in our choice of skeletal or
fleshed-out reconstruction. And I'll welcome that day. But I'll *still*
think that some genuine specimens should be prepared and displayed. (When
we can look through the rock, we'll have more to choose from, too, and be
able to prepare them better.)

And Caitlin remarked in a later post:

>perhaps the fossil itself will be kept unmounted and accessible to

The unstated assumption here is that mounted fossils are completely
inaccessible; that "public display" and "value to research" are in a
zero-sum game. Will the professional contingent comment? I had that idea
that there were things you could learn from a mounted specimen that you
would not see from a box of disarticulated bones . . .

 Steve Jackson - yes, of SJ Games - yes, we won the Secret Service case
  Learn Web or die - http://www.sjgames.com/ - dinosaurs, Lego, Kahlua!
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