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Re: A slap on the hand



Here's the BLM news release: 

Paleo crime doesn't pay; fossil thief sentenced

An Otto, Wyoming man recently received jail time and fines, and must pay 
restitution in a case involving fossil theft from Bureau of Land 
Management-administered public lands in Wyoming's Bighorn Basin. Rene 
Quammen, who previously pled guilty to three counts of removing 
paleontological specimens without authorization, received 30 days in jail and 
two years probation, and must pay $7,375 in restitution, $500 in fines, and 
$75 in court costs. During the probation, Quammen cannot enter onto federal 
lands. Some of the fossil specimens were recovered, including a rare 
Camarasaurus dinosaur skull, a cast of which is on display at the Tate Museum 
in Casper, Wyoming. Quammen was also required to forfeit all the vertebrate 
fossils that were seized from his personal collection in a search warrant 
during the course of the investigation. In September 2001, BLM law 
enforcement personnel found Quammen excavating fossils on public lands. 
"Quammen sought out scientifically and monetarily valuable fossils for the 
purpose of commercial sale and personal profit," said Jason Caffey, BLM 
Worland Field Office ranger. "The BLM caught him in the act of digging for 
fossils illegally. He destroyed the scientific information associated with 
these irreplaceable resources, and in most cases heavily damaged or destroyed 
the fossils themselves." 
Collection of fossils for commercial purposes is not allowed on 
BLM-administered lands under any circumstances, and collection of vertebrate 
fossils, such as bones, teeth, and tracks, is allowed only by permits issued 
to qualified researchers. This policy assures that important fossils are 
preserved for the enjoyment and education of all citizens. The public is 
allowed to collect small amounts of fossil plants, petrified wood, and 
invertebrate animals for hobby purposes without a permit.A search of 
Quammen's property by BLM rangers from the Cody, Worland, and Lander field 
offices, as well as Wyoming's Big Horn County Sheriff's Office, revealed 
thousands of items of evidence. The warrant allowed agents to seize 
vertebrate fossils, records and photographs of excavation sites, sales 
records of paleontological specimens, and land status maps.âIt is obvious 
from looking at the localities where he dug that significant scientific 
information was permanently lost due to his extremely poor collecting 
attempts,â said Dale Hanson, BLM Wyoming State Officeâs regional 
paleontologist. âMany of the fossil bones were completely destroyed. 
Additional information that would have provided clues about these dinosaurs, 
how they lived, and their environment was not collected or preserved.âSome of 
the localities where Quammen dug were originally discovered by other 
legitimate researchers, such as a party from the Smithsonian Institution, who 
had intended to return and properly collect the fossils and related 
information. Quammenâs activities have now severely impacted their research 
interests.Quammen left many fossils exposed in the quarries he dug. Most of 
the localities were also left unprotected from the elements, which led to 
further damage. It will cost the BLM several thousand dollars to assess the 
damage, recover any remaining fossils, and stabilize these localities; much 
more than will be recovered from his fines and restitution.