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RE: Paleo-Conference in Benevento.

<<There's another side on this visit that became apparent: The sad state
of dinosaur art in Europe>>

Also the state of paleontology as a science and of science in general is
sad in Italy.

 <<Also, the fact that  the Scipionyx fossil can't be viewed without a
guard besides you (using as an excuse a load of explanatoory discourse) and
no photographs were allowed left me puzzled. Bureaucracy is threatening to
strangle science from every angle there.>>

You people of the free world always forget one important thing.
Fossils (from foraminifera to dinosaurs) in Italy are STATE PROPERTY. No
matter if you find them in your garden or private estate, if they are rare
vertebrates or common shells. You private cannot look for them. Scientists
must ask the State administration a permission to do it. Bureaucrats can
decide that you cannot make field work and they are not obliged to explain
why. Furthermore, you must ask for permission before October 31th to be
allowed to make field work the following year and they take months to decide.
When you find a common fossil shell and you keep it at home, it is an
illegal act and you are formally an outlaw.
According to the law (and law interpretation) scientists should ask the
State bureaucrats the permission to study the fossils and even to take
pictures of them. You cannot take freely photographs of the specimens
because also their image is State property and you must pay a fee to use
it. This is the reason of the strict control on Scipionyx. Furthermore also
the State bureaucrats (without any scientifical background) now know that
Scipionyx is a rare specimen, thus they must show that they have care of it!
This is our situation. 

Fabio M. Dalla Vecchia