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Re: illegal fossil sales?
Splendid, splendid, Mike. Terrific! And let's not forget how Ji Qiang got
his first, what was it? Caudipteryx? In a green silk box from a fossil
Stephen Faust firstname.lastname@example.org
On Mon, 6 Jul 1998, Michael Schmidt wrote:
> As a commercial fossil dealer I understand the regulations concerning the
> sales of prohibited fossils to a better degree than most academics.
> To put it simply, China does a piss-poor job of protecting things. Yes, it
> is actually punishable by death to remove dino eggs out of China. Does
> that stop it from happening; no.
> For everyone of those beautiful Confusciousornis birds that is collected,
> 10 are destroyed in the process. Chenjiang material is readily available
> for purchase even though the government has purchased the site.
> Two Chinese dealers I know deal in such pieces. One of which was caught on
> television on a sting where he illegally purchased eggs. He was back in
> mainland China 3 months later bringing another shipment out.
> The problem is that Chinese officials are easily bribed. With the
> exception of the Stone Company, I can say with almost 100% certainty that
> almost all of the eggs on the market are illegally exported from China,
> unless they were exported prior to 1993(?). One of the dealers I know is
> former military, as are his employees.
> (As far as I am aware)There are no laws regarding the importation of these
> items into the USA, only theur export from China.
> If fossils are denied on the market place, their value goes up, and pretty
> soon a peasant working in China realises that he can make a month's salary
> selling one of these things, so what do you think he is going to do?
> I will probably get a lot of flack from people for saying this, but....,
> there has to be cooperation between governments/academics, and commercial
> collecters/sellers. I am responsible when it comes to my dealings.
> Important new specimens are either sold or donated to museums or academics,
> or they are leant until the proper study on the piece can be completed.
> Scientifically important specimens should belong to science first and
> foremost, but science should not be allowed to own everything. That
> attitude is what pushes the price of fossils up, and keeps the smuggling
> trade going.
> The Smiithsonian has (so I am told) 10,000 marellas from the Burgess Shale.
> Do you think that more than 10% of those are not duplicated somewhere in
> their collection? As a result of prohibitive collecting laws such as this,
> more marellas are lost every year to mountain goat crap, and to oxidation
> than are ever collected, either academically or commercially.
> I believe wholeheartedly in the pursuit of scientific knowledge, but let's
> be realistic. When villagers use dinosaur eggs as building blocks in walls
> because they are so plentiful, is there really no room for some type of
> sales, and an end to smuggling?
> Michael Schmidt
> > From: Betty Cunningham <email@example.com>
> > To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Subject: illegal fossil sales?
> > Date: Monday, July 06, 1998 6:40 PM
> > If it is illegal to export Chinese fossils from the
> > Caudipteryx/Sinosauropteryx/Confuciornis locality, what should one do if
> > one finds someone selling fossils from said locality?
> > Is there someone the SVP is working with to help crack down on this
> > theft?
> > -Betty Cunningham