A particular case in point is the recent posting by Dinogeorge on the "Odd
Chinese Dinosaur." Suppose I found/bought this fossil and wanted to
a description of it. I write (such as was in the press release) that
cranium, teeth, scapula, vertebra, ribs, shank, coccyx [sic] and the claw of
the dinosaur skeleton were all preserved intact. The skull is 0.35 meters
long and 2.5 meters wide [sic!]. The length between the neck vertebra and the
pygal [sic] is 2.35 meters, and the tailbone [sic] is 1.8 meters long."
I submit this description to a journal, along with a few digital pictures and
page costs, then put the specimen in my underground vault, refusing to let
anyone else see what is after all MY research. Since this is an
extraordinary fossil, certainly my description is enough to satisfy the
requirement that something is better than nothing. So what if Chris
is skeptical of the skull measurements or Tom Holtz is astounded by the
finding of the first dinosaur coccyx, which seems to indicate the
phylogenetic relationship between dinosaurs and tailless apes.
I understand what Mary is saying. BUT, I have also
run into the same situation at museums. I have been denied access to specimens.
Why? Because it is currently being worked on by paleontologist and they do not
want others to see it (It happens). It is currently in storage and hard to get
at (I understand and have no real problem with it). The museum doesn’t know me
and doesn’t know whither or not I’ll break it or steal it (understandable). Etc.
I’ve been trying to study some theropod specimens from the AMNH and they are on
loan (something else that needs to be taken into consideration of the people
wanting to study it). There are problems in both cases, the museum and the