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Re: [Fwd: Re: NOVA]

>At 09:16 AM 2/28/97 -0500, you wrote:
>>The mindset, though, is that when people talk about scientists, they (I'm 
>>sure sometimes we also) think only those in the academic field.  But a 
>>scientist would include more than that.  I wouldn't hesitate one second 
>>to call Pete Lawson a scientist because that is what he is!  He may have 
>>spent less time in the field than Horner or anyone else and he may do 
>>things differently, but his primary concern is scientific, even though he 
>>runs a business off of what he does.  If we don't call him a scientist 
>>because he digs fossils as a business venture, then would it also be in 
>>place to call a biochemist who works for a private company a scientist?  
>>We would call them both scientists!
>>Sorry for the speal.
>>Michael D. Miller

   I couldn't agree more. Actually there are less than half a dozen
commerical collectors, on the scale of BHI, in the United States. These
collectors are very serious about the "science." If you think for a moment
they would make a new discovery and secret it away you are badly mistaken.
The commerical collectors that I know all have close contacts with one or
more PhD's in academia who regularly study their collections.
  From conversations with people like Neil Larson and Mike Triebold I can
tell you that they feel badly about being lumped in with the "poachers"
whenever this debate raises it ugly head. The distance between these
individuals and those who would find and sell a speciemen to a rock shop is
light years. 
   In these days of tight money many museums have a hard time fielding
expeditions on a regular basis. Those in academia are often to busy with
research and publishing findings to spend extended periods of time in the field.
You would be surprised at the number of well known museums and universities
that purchase casts of speicmens from these commerical collectors..I know
that to be a fact.
   So in the paleontology arena there should be room for everyone to
co-exist and add to the science. After all isn't the "science" the most
important thing here lets not lose track of that.
   With regard to fossils on land under the control of different government
entities that is a problem that should concern us all. There are a multitude
of finds "weathering" out in the badlands of the western United States. Some
are known and many are simply undiscovered and will never be realized. So to
the BLM/Forest service I would say if you aren't going to collect then who??
Are you really serving as the public trustee in these matters? I'm not
saying they have to give collectors carte blanche to the land but lets get
some permitting system going before we all lose a resource that once gone is
forever lost.
   I find it a bit of an enigma that NOVA takes on BHI in such a manner and
yet, this day, BHI is under contract to a government entity and is
collecting another T-rex in South Dakota. Sounds like the "pot is calling
the kettle black" to me.
Also I doubt that Jack Horner has spent anymore time in the field than Peter
or Neil Larson. If I'm not wrong wasn't one of Horner's big finds made in a
rock shop in Montana?? Come on Jack..give it a rest!

Cliff, on prairies in North Dakota