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Re: Casts versus Fossil Bone
Regarding Ralph Chapman's post:
I personally can't see why anyone would want to risk the actual fossil
material when high fidelity casts can be made virtually identicle to the
originals at a fraction of the weight and value. The Tarbosaurus mount
that does the rounds in various places in Melbourne is a good example
(taken from casts of the Great Russian Dinosaurs travelling sideshow).
Not only is the mount complete down to the bone (whereas an actual mount
of fossil material would be a mixture of real and "fake"), but the head
is a work of art. Apparently the original was carved out of wood based
on the fossil material. Now THAT is art!
Is there a lack of talented artists out there to render the casts to
look like the originals? Fossil skeletons are almost never complete, and
even if they are, are often crushed or distorted. Complete mounted
skeletons will therefore always involve some sort of artistic license.
They are, after all, mostly just for public view, and most of the public
wouldn't know a cast from an original. I say keep the originals safe.
Don't waste them on a mostly unappreciative public when professionals
would benefit from the material being safely catalogued away somewhere
where they can be accessed for study.