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RE: Private Collectors....a defence

> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Stratigraphy@aol.com
>    I would like to point out that Barnum Brown

Brown was an employee of the American Museum from age 24 onward (which in
his case was almost 90!), not a private collector.

> and Sternberg were private
> collectors, they found, excavated and sold vertebrate materials.
> Though most
> of these specimens ended up in large institutions that now serve
> as permanent
> repository, they were collected by private individuals paid only
> through the
> sale of collected material.

I have, in talks and interviews on the subject, often brought the Sternberg
family up as the epitome of private fossil hunters.  However, something that
I would like verified:
Can anyone confirm that the Sternberg's sold vertebrate fossils to private
citizens rather than accredited institutions?  I cannot comfirm this, but if
someone knows better, I'd like to have that information.

I think a modern Sternberg-like institution (either a "field crew for hire"
or a "we'll find the specimens, and let the museums vie for it") might be
very useful.  In particular, the "field crew for hire" model would place a
greater value on the skill and experience of the individuals in question,
rather than focus on the "commoditization" (real word or neologism?) of
fossil material.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843