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Chinese fossils 'for sale'

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:
> Here is the news from Professor Ji: there is no such thing as a fossil from
> Liaoning which was obtained legally.  By law, they cannot be sold.  The
> dealer might not be aware of this (I realize stuff goes through several
> hands before it reaches these shores), but in point of (legal) fact any
> Liaoning specimen in private hands anywhere outside China was illegally
> obtained.
        Unfortunately, I have to agree with this.  We spent a frightening 
amount of our time talking and negotiating prices with "owners" of Liaoning 
bird and fish specimens that we were supposedly going to sell in the U.S. 
and Europe, but which we actually deposited with the IVPP.  All of those 
specimens would have been headed overseas for private sale.  

        Ji actually understated the point a bit.  By law (right now, 
since this is such a bloody media event), it is against the law to even 
possess a vertebrate fossil from Liaoning if you are not supported by a 
government agency.

Josh Smith
Department of Geology
University of Pennsylvania
471 Hayden Hall
240 South 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA  19104-6316
(215) 898-5630 (Office)
(215) 898-0964 (FAX)