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Re: Paleo-Conference in Benevento.
I smile reading the honest, linear and pragmatic comments on my message.
<<I would support the protection of Scipionyx and of any fossil of its
importance, specially considering the scarcity of dinosaurs in Italy. I
mean, even Canada has this kind of laws: All the Canadian fossils are
property of Canada and nobody else. That can also be good as a way of
protecting scientific studies.>>
This would be a good thing if fossils are in the hands of State officers
actually wishing to protect them. This is the case of Canada. In Italy no
paleontologists are in charge for the "protection" of fossils. The fate of
fossils is in the hand of archaeologists, art historians, architects,
They do not know what a fossil is, but forbids you to deal with them. They
do not care at all about the protection of fossils unless there is a
complaint and they are obliged to do something. Skippy was in a dusty box
of a dark room with Roman crocks before the article on Nature.
<<As a contrast in England for example there's no protection whatsoever to
fossil finds and then all the scientists have to go around the Isle of
Wight begging for specimens to private collectors.>>
The positive side is that private collectors work without a salary and have
time to do the extensive work in the field that the few professional
paleontologists on charge cannot do. Collaborative private collectors are
the best friends of paleontology and professional paleontologists. Here
they are outlaws.
<<But one thing is protection and other this infights and bureaucratic
The right point.
<<No photographs? Thay must be joking! What has this to do with any
protection? Am I going to 'steal its soul' ? Or maybe sell bootleg
photographs of it? Scipionyx is popular, but not precisely a Rock Star.
The specimen is well known... I have never come across an institution or
country anywhere in the world that doesn't allow photographs of public
exhibitions of fossil specimens.>>
You did not understand. It is not a matter of importance or not. You cannot
take a photo of EACH and EVERY Italian fossil. Fullstop.
But, of course, there is no true control on common people, just on the
professionals without "padrini" in the State administration.