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Re: Kirkaldy and SVP Ethics Statement

It's very odd how there are always academics and so-called "professionals"
out there to police any private collecting and private ownership of
vertebrate (and invert) materials.

What I would really like to see is an honest answer to who, exactly, polices
academics and these so called professionals??

I have seen acts of destruction and mismanagement of collections (by so
called professionals) so extreme that these people should have been brought
up on charges....but hey, they are pros, so they must know what they are

While in France earlier this year, I was told a very interesting story in
which the following occurred:

A recent government change had created a new minister of education.  He soon
began touring the University of Paris.  The paleo dept. was a little bit
worried about being chewed out for the materials that they had lining either
side of the hallways in the basements so, rather than being chastised and
told to clean up their room, they opted to turf EVERYTHING that lined the
hallways of their dept. into the dumpsters outside  This included (among
other things) entire photocopiers, vert and invert type specimens, a
complete upper and lower jaw of a Jurassic ichthyosaur, reptile and mammal
material by the hundred pound lots......

What frightens me is that these people, apparently, are the ones that the
public is supposed to entrust with the guardianship of their historical
treasures.  I believe that this is an extreme situation, yet I don't believe
that this doesn't happen (to a lesser degree) in other schools/museums.

There are a lot of responsible commercial collectors around who do a lot for
science, and there are also a lot of academics and institutions out there
who are every bit as reprehensible to me as unethical private collectors.

Oddly enough, if these same private collectors spend a few years in school
getting their degrees, all of a sudden they are miraculously cleansed of all
their sins and shame......

An academic who found a T-rex this summer (while on a school funded dig) and
then decided to sell it springs to mind.  Although this news story was
touched on by a few members of this list, never was there any comments (to
my knowledge) concerning the unethical nature of his actions.

Simply put, this list is biased.  Commercial collectors are ALWAYS
unscrupulous, and academics are ALWAYS the pinnacle of ethical

I am so glad that I live in a world that is so black and white........

(This message has been thoroughly spell checked so as not to offend a
certain "proper spelling kinda guy" on the list......)

----- Original Message -----
From: "chris brochu" <cbrochu@mail.fmnh.org>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2000 5:37 AM
Subject: Re: Kirkaldy and SVP Ethics Statement

> >In a message dated 11/27/00 11:37:39 PM EST, MKIRKALDY@aol.com writes:
> >
> ><< I submit this description to a journal, along with a few digital
> >and
> > page costs, then put the specimen in my underground vault, refusing to
> > 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. >>
> >
> >Oh, give me a break! I personally certainly wouldn't do something as
> >as this,
> Of course you wouldn't.  But the situation Mary described is functionally
> similar to what often happens with specimens in private hands - however
> good the intentions of the owner at the time of study, there is no
> guarantee that the specimens will be available for future workers.
>  but think about what has been happening with the Protoavis material.
> >Shall we drum Sankar Chatterjee out of the SVP?
> What, exactly, has been happening with "Protoavis?"  Last I heard, it was
> properly curated at Texas Tech (which has a good, recognized museum) and
> available to outside researchers.
> chris
> ------------------------
> 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