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Re: New theropod from Montana

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:
> At 09:19 PM 9/16/97 -0700, you wrote:
> >According to an AP wire service story today, a team of paleontologists
> >and diggers led by Keith Rigby of Notre Dame University is currently
> >working on excavating what may be the largest theropod dinosaur ever
> >discovered.
> snip
> >This family gave Rigby
> >permission to dig there.  However, he later became suspicious and made a
> >land records search.  He found that the fmaily did not own the land,
> >that it had been seized by the federal Farm Service Agency several years
> >ago.
> H!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
> !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
> Bloody hell, NOT AGAIN!!
> Why doesn't this happen to the mammal workers?  The trilobite guys?!  Why is
> it always tyrannosaurs!?!?!?!
> (Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have gone into a less stressful job, like
> neurosurgeon or bomb defuser... :-S ).

In this case, believe it or not, the feds seem to be the good guys.  A
followup story this morning had more information.  It seems that the FSA
took the land in a foreclosure several years ago.  The family insists
that the foreclosure was against the rules, and the land is still
theirs.  The stories I saw didn't say if Rigby signed any binding
agreement with the family, but two things seem pretty clear: 

        1) the feds and local authorities are guarding the site FROM the
family, FOR Rigby's team; and
        2) if the family wins the ownership dispute, they plan to rip the thing
out of the rock themselves 
           and sell it to the highest bidder.

The brouhaha over Sue occurred because of an enormous legal tangle: that
land was held in trust by the feds for the Sioux Amerinds, but was
leased to a rancher who then made an agreement that he had no legal
right to make with the BHI.  This case is much simpler: the land either
belongs to the feds, or it belongs to the family.  If the former, the
fossil and the site are apparently safe and open for Rigby and his team
(who are from a well-known, accredited university, not a commercial
fossil dealer) to dig.  If the latter, you can probably say goodbye to
it, because no university will be able to produce the kind of money the
family will probably demand for permission for further digging.

-- JSW