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>>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
I know one: Italy.
Here all the fossils are State property. Even foraminifers. This means that
even scientists are not allowed to collect them without a State (therefore
depending on the politicians and the bureaucrats) permit. You cannot cast a
footprint without a permit. Theoretically, you cannot publish a
scientifical paper regarding an Italian fossil without a State permit. You
must ask the field work permit before the fall of October and you usually
receive the answer not before the next May. Privates have no chances to
obtain this permit. According to the law (a fascist law written in
1939)privates with Italian fossils (all fossils, without distinctions) in
their collections are considered as thievings of public goods.
But, of course, the State does not protect fossils. No paleontologists in
the State agency which should protect fossils: only archeologists and
architects, which does not know what a fossil is and think that dinosaurs
are just muppets for kids.
So, do not think that your "Bambiraptor" discussion is universal: you are
merely talking about a your U.S.A. problem, as usual.
Fabio M. Dalla Vecchia