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Re: WANT TO HELP MARYLAND HAVE A DINOSAUR...?



At 10:00 PM 3/10/99 -0500, Laurie Nyveen wrote:

>Mightn't Tom's question about "what do you want in a paleo exhibit" be
>related to this, possibly as a presentation?
>
>Just putting two and two together over here....

Not a bad deduction, but in fact that was total coincidence.  I had no idea
Kranz was going ahead with this particular thing this week: I had just
wanted to shift the discussions on the list from things we've talked to
death about to something for which everyone has some aspect they can bring
to the table (namely, dinosaur exhibits, either as creators or viewers).

Now, as for the Maryland dinosaur site:

Ah, politics!  Without going into too much of the details here, not all the
land on which the site is proposed is currently State owned: in fact, it is
currently privately owned and actively used.  Needless to say, there would
be complications with this which will need to be resolved prior to any park
formation.  Would I like to see the site protected somehow: yes.  Is this
the best way to do it: maybe.

Kids collecting at the site?  I've worked some of the area, and I will
expect that most kids will be disappointed.  This is NOT Dinosaur National
Monument: dinosaur fossils are very few and far between, and are very, very
scrappy with rare exceptions.  Plenty of lignatized wood, though.  Also,
since the Arundel is the most important eastern North American
mid-Cretaceous formation, and since this is the best site for the Arundel,
and since there is much more to understanding a fauna and flora than just
the dinosaurs, I am REALLY distressed at the idea of having people bringing
lots of fossils home in their pockets: who knows what science will miss that
way?  Current arrangements result in new vertebrate finds from this site
going to a certain national museum of natural history, where they can be
very well taken care of...

Speaking of the scientific understanding of the site, our own Tom Lipka is
*the man* with regards to scientific collecting and synthesis of the
Arundel.  Yes, Peter Kranz was really instrumental at bringing new attention
to the Arundel, and at getting lots of public attention for Maryland
dinosaurs, and has made some important finds there.  Meanwhile Lipka has
been patiently and systematically exploring the site, cataloguing and
synthesizing the geological and paleontological data, and has ALSO made some
important discoveries, which he is describing through the scientific
literature rather than with press conferences.  Stay tuned.  (Tom's not one
for much self-promotion, so I'll promote him here!)

Would I help out with such a park: darn tootin'.  Quite frankly I don't
think they could afford me as a full-time staffer (I have a fair idea of the
salaries within the Maryland State system (since I'm already a Maryland
State employee), and a park job would be a major pay cut), but I AM local
and as Prince Georges County's resident dino-man it would be silly for me
not to be involved.  Particularly if I can promote the "e" word (evolution)
in the park exhibits...

I'm sure Lipka, and Stanford, and I will let you know what happens.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:tholtz@geol.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661