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RE: Private Collectors....a defence

> I have, in talks and interviews on the subject, often brought the
> family up as the epitome of private fossil hunters. 

Amen.  Also, Sternberg specimens have gone to institutions not necessarily
in the habit of amassing fossil collections (small colleges, etc), but
were more or less public venues nevertheless.

> I think a modern Sternberg-like institution (either a "field crew for
> or a "we'll find the specimens, and let the museums vie for it") might
> very useful.  In particular, the "field crew for hire" model would place
> greater value on the skill and experience of the individuals in
> rather than focus on the "commoditization" (real word or neologism?) of
> fossil material.
I could not agree more.  This plays to the strengths of both involved
parties and would prove eventually to save money and support private
concerns.  Such a setup would also prove a deterrent to shoddy or illegal
collecting, since rigor would be rewarded.  

An aside on the use of monolithic terms "academicians" and "commercial
collectors" and the like.  Each of these groups covers a huge swath of all
stripes in a gamut from "good" to "bad".  If using an encompassing term,
any detractor may cite cases in which the "other side" has failed to
promote good collecting, curation or access.  Egregious cases should be
pointed out and castigated, for either "side", but as specific problems,
not as generalities  necessarily.  Likewise, models of fieldwork,
collection, access etc.  should be hailed as such.  Viva Sternberg!  

Sen~or Holtz has not coined a neologism in "commoditization", but not yet
either a paleo-logism.  It shows up in postmodernist historical/social
sciences literature, alongside or in contradistinction to
"commodification" and other funky constructions.  I much prefer Tom's
word, since the other sounds suspiciously like "turning into a toilet."


Jeffrey Alan Bartlett
Paleoecology Group
North Carolina State University
North Carolina State Museum