Bob Simon said, "...It has long been recognized that some of the dinosaur bones in the
Morrison Formation are radioactive. I wonder if studies have been done at Vernal and other places to
check the radioactivity to ensure the safety and protection of both the workers and the public."
About five years ago, I was attending a 'gem and mineral' show in Baltimore, Maryland. One dealer had a box of dinosaur bone chips from somewhere in the Jurassic Morrison Formation of Utah that were intensely colored by uranium salts. When a guy who always takes his Geiger counter (radiation sensing device) to such shows came along and put the sensor near those bones, the audio output (clicking sounds) and needle-type display showing intensity went wild.
The man with the Geiger counter said, "That stuff is dangerously radioactive!"
I pleaded with the dealer to withdraw them from sale, fearing that some might be purchased by or for some little kid who would carry them around for days in his or her pocket for 'show and tell'.
The dealer responded, "I wouldn't worry about that."
Two years later I saw him at a show and most of the uranium salt-colored ones were gone. So I asked him, "Did you withdraw them from sale, as I advised?"
"Hell, no!" he responded, "Those bright yellow ones sell fastest. The kids can't resist buying the prettiest ones. I'm gonna try to find some more of them."
I tried to convince him not to do so, but he responded, "A little radiation never hurt anybody!"
So, if any of you out there attend such shows and see this kind of thing happening, please try to convince the dealer to withdraw them from sale. You might be 'wasting your breath' on the dealer, but at least if any little children are standing around, their parents may agree with you and not buy them.
Radioactive bones are no way to introduce children to dinosaurs or to interest them in the science thereof.
"You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles." -- Sherlock Holmes in The Boscombe Valley Mystery