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Re: Bambiraptor (comment on Brochu's comments)

>A commercial collector surreptitiously gathers (or pays local people to
>gather) the fossils and smuggles them out of the country and sells them to
>private collectors who know that they will be confiscated if discovered.
>The location and attendant information are not documented because that would
>be evidence.  The fossils cannot be studied by paleontologists.
>Certainly, in this case the fossils might as well not have been gathered as
>far as science is concerned.  Is the problem the existence of the collector
>or the complete illegality of gathering the fossils?

Both.  In fact, I am unaware of any country that blanket-prohibits
collection of any kind; usually, collecting is regulated, but permits are

 Given that the fossils
>would simply disappear if not for the unofficial collection, is the solution
>greater enforcement or some kind of licensing procedure with requirements
>for documentation and availability for study?

Yup - and that's what happens in most places.

Regarding the bidding on Sue - I wasn't there, and wasn't affiliated with
the museum at the time.  So I genuinely don't know the facts on who was


Christopher A. Brochu
Department of Geology
Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

phone 312-665-7633
fax 312-665-7641
electronic cbrochu@fmppr.fmnh.org