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I never got around to answering Ray "Dinotracker extraordinaire" Stanford's
question about this. Spent a wonderful day over Ray's last month and was
greatly inspired by his abilities and results. I suspect I was one of his
intended audience for this. here goes...

Ralph E. Chapman
Applied Morphometrics Laboratory
National Museum of Natural history
ADP, EG-15  NHB, 10th & Constitution, NW
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC 20560-0136
(202) 786-2293, Fax: (202) 357-4122

>>> "Ray Stanford" <dinotracker@earthlink.net> 05/30/00 10:33AM >>>
    Jeff Hecht said, "...The best compromise would be displaying something
relatively common and not particularly valuable, like...a 

    I wonder, are pachycephalosaur bones all that common and, "...not
particularly valuable..."?   [I'm unsure whether scientific value or
commercial value, or both, is meant here.]   I'm possibly not well
on this, but have long had an opposite impression.

    Anyone care to comment?

    Thanks, Ray Stanford


I thought about answering this when it came out because of my love for
pachys. There are a significant number of pachy domes - especially
Stegoceras - out there and they can range from wonderful shape to basically
a beat up ball. The better ones have the braincase attached and this allows
lots of research things to be done with them. Those that lack any real
morphology - especially the braincase - and are just balls are not
particularly valuable because they can be tough to even identify as a pachy
dome rather than a boss or some other bone part  (which leads back to
Sankar's early "pachy" where I still have to find out if there is a
braincase there, etc., although the bone seems in pretty good shape).  If
you can be moderately sure it is a pachy dome, even those badly worn ones
can be used for some microstructure work etc. So I would suggest that pachy
domes are never not valuable if they are identificable as such. That does
not mean you don't display them at all, just best to do it under a vitrine
and that will protect it from environmental bad effects and most vandalism.
Being able to display a moderately preserved one in an exhibit with an
illustration showing where it comes from is part of the value of it. Looking
forward to seeing domes when I visit Mark Goodwin next Tuesday...

Ralph Chapman