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Re: Fossil auctions

    The problem seems to be, how can we get someone to pay for fossils to be
extracted correctly, so that important information is not lost.  If someone
was able to get a grant to pay for paleontologists to examine commercial
digs, and the specimens that come from them, before the commercial
collectors can sell the fossils; then the commercial collectors can sell the
fossils to museums, where the information can be maintained, or they can
sell the fossils to private individuals, with the appropriate information
attached - for more money than without.

    The idea that I mentioned before, of a collection 'kit' may come into
play here, only the paleontologist would collect the necessary information,
soil, matrix, and miscellaneous samples needed.  The kit could be stored at
the paleontologist's museum, or some sort of clearinghouse.  Certificates
would be made, referring directly to the kit, and signed by the
paleontologist.  Kits and certificates would be numbered and saved in a
massive database, that the public and professional could view on-line.  A
contact method for seeing the actual fossil could be set up on-line as well.

    Getting private individuals to allow you to examine their prize would
still remain difficult - but may be an 'elite' status conferred upon them
and their fossil(s).  ["Oh that's right, MY _Torosaurus_ specimen is one of
the rare ones.  I have famous paleontologists asking to examine it all the
time!"  (Imagine Dr. Niles Crane speaking)].

    Of course, I don't know who could/would finance such a grant, or series
of grants.(Where's that massive lottery winning when you need it???).

    Whatca think?

        Allan Edels

-----Original Message-----
From: Danvarner@aol.com <Danvarner@aol.com>
To: docpaleo@gte.net <docpaleo@gte.net>
Cc: dinosaur@usc.edu <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Date: Thursday, October 01, 1998 2:43 PM
Subject: Re: Fossil auctions

>In a message dated 98-10-01 13:07:25 EDT, you write:
><< One scenario would be where a contracted professional collector would
> to remove specific specimens from Toadstool National Park each season.  >>
>  There's a lot of possible difference between a "professional" collector
>a commercial collector. Amatuer collectors too! A LOT of difference.
>Commercial concerns seem to be constantly blurring the differences causing
>sorts of problems.I believe the U.S. Forest Service supervises Toadstool
>(which is not a national park, by the way) and I think that they have been
>considering such a proposition but I don't know what they have concluded.
>funny you should mention Toadstool in northwestern Nebraska (a White River
>deposit with Titanotheres). It's been heavily "sacked" by commercial
>collection, skewing any attempts at biostratigraphy. I've been there and
>seen the plaster-splattered craters. Dan Varner.