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Re: Fossil auctions

Hello Brian,

>What happens to the fossils the excavator has taken, but which the central
>clearinghouse doesn't want?

I would suggest that _all_ specimens would be kept by the clearing house
without exceptions. "Surplus" material in the system could be exchanged for
specimens that some museums would put up for auction or trash. It seems that
the main concern is with vertebrate specimens more so than invertebrates.
Further, the clearing house could dictate what sites were collected based on
need and request from the various institutions.

The professional collectors would be employees of the clearing house and not
commercial or amateur collectors. Of course guidelines must be established
to control collection procedures and disposal of specimens to avoid material
slipping out to the commercial or private market. Any violation of said
guidelines would be grounds for immediate dismissal and possible legal

>I suspect that you know something about the costs of excavation and
>preparation that I don't.  How would a single source of orders for fossils
>any more cost effective than the current system of independant expeditions
>museums, etc.?

Being the sole purpose of the clearing house to collect and reposit
specimens the savings would come from the elimination or reduction of
"in-house" paleontologist having to expend their time and funds to mount
such work. The cost to support field workers would be less than the cost of
supporting a museum staff and field crew. In addition redundancy in field
collecting could be minimized. I am not suggesting that ALL field work would
cease, that would be silly. Merely as an adjunct to the present problem of
illegal collecting of protected land by commercial and amateur collectors
and the trashing and selling of overstock by some institutions.

> Brian M. McCarthy


Jim Wyatt