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The Good, the Bad, and the Privately-Held

> Chris Brochu wrote:
> <<In fact, having them end up in disreputable hands is no different
> from having them rot in the field.>>
> Chris Bennet replied:
> <First of all, I would ask how we are to determine who is
> disreputable?
> Are all private individuals who have personal collections of fossils
> disreputable?>
>   I know its been mentioned before, but Ray Stanford and Mike
> Triebold,
> along with BHI, are privately-held people with a great deal of
> reputation and respect in the pro category. Having a degree and a
> institutional affiliation does not make you automatically reputable,
> just on the Law of Averages.
> <Unfortunately, the specimen was collected by a commercial collector,
> has only the vaguest locality data, uncertain stratigraphic position,
> and is in the hands of a private individual, perhaps even a
> disreputable private individual.>
>   There's a lot of information that can be gleaned soley from the
> fossils, rather than the sedimentology and quarry mapping taking
> place.
> I feel Brochu is correct in stating that a lot of intrinsic, perhaps
> the majority of the data, is lost with only the fossils to work with.
> If I had merely a single skull that I could associate with a certain
> pterosaur subgroup, say the djungaripterygids, but didn't know where
> it
> came from, who collected it or how it was collected, or even if the
> rest of the skeleton was preserved and ... taken elsewhere ... I
> could
> still examine the skull, perhaps determine a new species, revise the
> phylogeny a little, perhaps figure out why djungaripterygoids had
> those
> beaks and teeth they have, then I have information beyond its
> stratigraphy. I could then tempt an interested museim into purchasing
> it, for the sake of preventing the loss of the specimen, perhaps
> because this fossil is unique to that museum and would allow the
> public
> to access a rare find indeed, and perhaps raise the museum's funds a
> little with entrance fees. One could expand with even slight
> contributions into building an exhibit. I'm certain Dong or Xu or
> Perle
> would come over from Asia to study more djungaripterygid material....
>   There is a facility with every fossil, even if there is no
> assoaciate
> data with it. Fossils of a prevenance that are known to not permit
> transportation or sale of fossils (eg., China) would indicate that
> instant repatriation shuld be indicated. An albertosaur in a Tuscon
> fossil show would be suspect, of course.
>   Similarly, repeatability is important, and any fossil of importance
> should be protected, and private collectors not allowed to retain
> material that could be considered important to the scientific
> community. An area can be designated such that any material located
> within that region should not be removed, or even touched, without an
> affiliated, collections-seeking professional. That of course, would
> be
> the stricter ideal, not just _the_ ideal. There are almost certainly
> groups out there of non-professionals (Triebold and Larson may not
> have
> PhD's in Paleo [correct me if I'm wrong], but no one would dare yet
> call them unprofessional, would they?) or simply lone collectors who
> can conduct a fully professional, up-and-up dig or collection
> exercise.
> =====
> Jaime "James" A. Headden
>   Dinosaurs are horrible, terrible creatures! Even the
>   fluffy ones, the snuggle-up-at-night-with ones. You think
>   they're fun and sweet, but watch out for that stray tail
>   spike! Down, gaston, down, boy! No, not on top of Momma!
> __________________________________________________
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