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Re: Laws on fossil collecting

On Thursday, June 7, 2001, at 03:54 AM, Steve Brusatte wrote:

On Wed, 06 Jun 2001 11:43:26
Dino Guy and Computer Gal wrote:
Ilja Nieuwland wrote:

On the other hand, sometimes material may be kept in the drawers for
well over a decade before it is finally released to scientific study
(e.g., Scipionyx). I wasn't referring to museum drawers, more to those
of government institutions.

Reports I read on _Scipionyx_ stated that an amateur fossil collector from
Italy had dug up _Scipionyx_, but thought it was "just a fossil bird" (!) so
he left it in a shoe box in his basement for 10 years until he saw "Jurassic
Park" and it occurred to him that he might have a dinosaur in that box.

From what I gathered (Marco or Fabio, correct me if I'm wrong) it was indeed figured to be 'just a bird' by some collector. He then figured it to be a dinosaur and presented it to the authorities. Then it became the subject of a power struggle between several instances, causing it to lay about for another couple of years.

Unless these reports were in error, I see this as being quite different from a
drawer in "a government institution." In other words, for all those years
that the specimen was unavailable for scientific study it was in private
hands, NOT a public research collection.

Correct me if I am mistaken.

No, I think you're correct, judging from what I've read. However, it is amazing that this amateur collector even had permission to collect, as Italy's fossil laws are ridiculous (dating from Fascist days).

Nope, before that, most of them are turn-of-century (19th to 20th, that is).