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Re: paleo jobs Re: Howdy peoples!



All:

    Back in September, 1998 I said:

"...The problem with stopping the sales, is the fact that many people would
love to have their own beautifully preserved fossil.  I'd love to be able to
afford a well preserved _T. rex_ skull - with as much scientific information
as possible attached to it.  I would make the skull available to therapod
workers.  Of course, I don't have the money - nor is there a skull that fits
the bill (or the miniscule area I have :-)  ).

    I think, in lieu of being able to stop the collection of these fossils,
we should try to put together a collection kit for the collectors.  This
would include location, maps and photos of the fossil in situ, collection of
microfauna, damaged fossils, and volcanic tufts (if available), and
collection of the matrix as well.  This information could be transfered from
owner to owner, and could be examined by museums and by scientists.  I can
see problems with that idea, but I can see it as a selling point - the
fossil is worth more because it is valuable to science, not just as a
collector's piece....."


And then in October, 1998 I said:

       "...    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)]   ....".


Frank said:
>I know that collecting vertebrate fossils is a hot-button topic.  As a
>trilobitophile I am a little bit put out that bugs don't get the same
respect,
>but it does make them easier to collect.  Obviously there is a big market
for
>fossils and this means a lot of money that could go toward employing
>paleontologists.  In order to discourage pirate(private) collecting on
public
>lands, it is basically banned unless being done for research by a sadly
small
>academic community.  Finds on private lands get sold to high bidders that
make
>it impossible for academia to compete.  In the name of scientific purity a
>tremendous number of fossils are allowed to weather out and turn to dust.
Is
>this really better than having private money support the digs?  In my
perfect
>world (hah) all fossil digs would require the supervision of a qualified
>paleontologist, paying attention to all the things they are supposed to
>regarding the milieu of the excavation.  Significant finds, whether from
public
>or private lands would need to be studied and registered.  Private
collectors
>could then possess the fossils, subject to making them available to
qualified
>researchers.  Hey, it's not as if we are talking about registering guns
here.
>Insignificant finds (let's not debate what those are) could be sold.  Amp
up the
>penalties for possessing bootleg  bones.  Would this improve the quality of
>work done by private backhoe fossil strip miners?  I hope so.  Would this
make
>fossils expensive?  Sure.  Would collectors still buy them?  Almost
certainly.
>Would this provide the bucks to open up a lot of jobs for bright young
>paleontologists?  ***your answer here***
> Frank

>
>

    We seem to have similar ideas - to a certain extent...

        Allan Edels