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re:Fossil auctions

        I have heard and have discussed many times to pro's and con's of the
"Professional" vs "Commercial" funding and collecting of fossils. I have come
to the following conclusion, after many years of trying to generate funding
for digs. I think that there is so much more interest and actual active
participation in digs, than in previous years that the budgets of many
"professional interests" are strained or unable to fund new or continue
existing digs. With an appropriate arrangement between "commercial interests"
and "Professional interests" I see no reason why it wouldn't be a win/win
situation. A case in point is the T-rex at the field museum, which would not
be there if not for funding from the "commercial interests". Being a
"commercial interest" even in the paleontological arena should not prevent the
appropriate collection and study of any fossil specimen. When any "entity" is
unwilling to share an opportunity  for the collection and preserving of
specimens, everyone loses as the specimens weather away. Or, as in other
cases, the specimens sit in field jackets, unprepared and without
identification in a warehouse somehwhere waiting on some "professional" source
to pay the bills, while unwilling to allow a "commercial" source to become
involved. Hopefully, in the near future, we may see further cooperations as at
the FMNH and alternative sources of funding.

Carl J. Cook
St. Louis Institute for Paleontology