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This will be a flame raiser but what the hell. I submit that certain fossils
(and other material) should be national treasures whether it is found on
public or private land. There is considerable precedence for this approach.
For example it used to be illegal for a private person in this country to own
gold. That was changed only a couple of decades ago when we went off the gold
standard. It is illegal to own a spotted owl, etc etc. It is illegal to own
ivory that is less than 120 years old or registered when every thing was
grandfathered a few years ago.
Now if we were to do something like this I do not think everything should be
included. Almost all invertebrates should be exempt. Perhaps a list could be
developed as we do with endangered species where some vertebrate stuff would
be uncontrolled because the current scientific inventory is sufficient. One
thing that might be necessary is to really know what is currently available
like what the hell is in that pile under the Brigam Young stadium. The group
that controls the list should include dealers as well as scientific so there
will be some tradeoff.
Anyhow take a few shots at this.