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I do. The coins may have been "common," but who knows how the site they
were found in was disturbed to get them. The same is true for arrowhead
and potsherd hunters - the arrowheads themselves may not be so special, but
they may have come from a gravesite or village, and the act of digging the
artefacts up may have caused irreparable damage to the site. This is not
an uncommon problem - ask any archaeologist.
We may be facing the same problem with these dinosaur teeth - for all we
know, they were originally found in an intact jaw, which was broken up to
retrieve them. Most paleontologists who've worked in western North
American badlands regions have encountered headless fossil skeletons; the
skull had been removed for the fossil trade. Again, I don't know that this
is the case with these particular dinosaur teeth, but the possibility is
high enough to cause worry.<<
I have another example. I bought some D-shaped theropod teeth from a dealer
that was suppose to be from the Morrison. They look tyrannosaurid to me. So,
now I can either take his word for it that it was from Utah. But from where?
It could be from the Late Jurassic or Late Cretaceous. If it is from the
Morrison, which member? Some times its not ok to just say ok, it's a late
Jurassic tyrannosaurid, but just saying that is completely useless for
anyone trying to find out the evolution of tyrannosaurids.
On the other hand, I'd rather buy it and not have it lost to science. I've
been to several rock shows that have specimens that really need to be in a
museum. And I know of several specimens that have been in shows that are now
in museums. The Thescelosaur with a heart for another example.
And since most reputable journals (including JVP and Jour. Paleo.) will not
accept for publication papers describing privately-held material, such
specimens are essentially unpublishable. I, for one, was very disturbed to
see that the University of Kansas - an organization with a long and
prestigious history in paleontology - would publish a paper on a specimen
not yet curated in a recognized institution, and I suspect they won't be
doing it again.<<
I've talked to several paleontologist about maters such as this and from the
gist that I've gotten from them (I looked at the recent Zoological Code and
couldn't find it in there so I don't know if this will work) is that a cast
can be made of the specimen and that cast be put into a museum and used as
What we need is for private
>collectors to be friendly with public collectors.
See my previous comment on the difference between commercial and amateur
collectors. Lumping them together as "private collectors" is simply
inaccurate. Most museums have the good relations with amateurs you seem to
think does not exist; it's the commercial dealers that are the sticking
And, some museums DO have good relationships with some commercial dealers.
Of course not all dealers are fossil fakers and site raiders; some are very
interested in keeping contextual information with the fossils, and some do
contact museums when potentially important material comes to their
attention. But not all of them do, and the number of those who don't is
large enough to cause very real problems for everyone.<<
Right. The Black Hills is a commercial collector and so is Mike Triebold.
Both are on the up and up and do a hell of a job collecting and getting all
the needed information on the site. But there are many others who are the
bad apple of the lots.
It seems that some PhDs
>would rather see some fossils rot than to have the "wrong" people dig them
In fact, having them end up in disreputable hands is no different from
having them rot in the field.<<
Maybe not. They can still be willed to institutions.
PS. Chris can you send my other posts to the list. I ment to send them and
forgot to check the address.