Strictly speaking, are the Sternbergs amateurs or pros? At times, they worked for the Canadian Govt., and a few "paleontologists" from the East, and for themselves. Speaking of the paleontologists from the East, what about Cope and Marsh, again strictly speaking? I guess I am trying to get a definition for the two categories. Today, I think of professionals as someone with a degree (some don't have a degree) whose job is to find, gather and publish data for the greater good of the public, and/or academia (same thing?). Amateurs are those who find specimens, and they may or may not gather data, and they seldom publish. I haven't addressed what happens to the specimens. I believe that for both categories, a great many specimens in up in drawers; too many. Then there is, of course, the strict definition that simply says that if one is paid money, they are a professional.
I like to think that the Sternbergs were amateurs, and I suppose that Cope and Marsh should be considered professionals. I believe that the Sternbergs were on the cusp of being professionals. I believe that at least 65% of all finds are from amateurs. Of course, that figure is out of the air in my head. The definitions are not the same for all time periods.
I have a question. If a citizen, while
out walking on public lands or anywhere else for that matter, finds a signifigant
specimen, and subsequently brings it to the attention of a paeontologist,
who does the credit for the find go to with regard to the two categories
of pro and amateur? The citizen, in my opinion, is at the other end
of the spectrum from the Sternbergs within the category of amateurs.
I suppose the intent of why the citizen was out walking around when making
the find has much to do with the answer. Suppose the citizen was
interested in fossils, and was hoping to make a "great" find to show the
professionals. I think I have made things more complicated than they
need to be, but I think a good definition of the categories is needed to
answer the original question regarding percentage of finds. Good
Ray Stanford wrote:
Despite the mis-use of the word dinosaur (probably to attract attention of potential readers) in the article title (link sent earlier by E. Lurio, then by me), it is nice to see that a very constructive cooperation between an amateur paleontologist and professionals is described. IMHO, this is as it should be. Mutual respect is a good by-word here, when both elements are operating in a good-faith way. Does anyone out there have any take on what percentage of the really important paleontological finds have been made by amateurs? Ray Stanford