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Re: Oldest Known Male Fossil: 425 MYA

Mickey Mortimer wrote:
> James Cunningham wrote-
> > And won't be done again for that particular specimen, because it has
> > been destroyed.  I hope they don't have a hard-drive failure.
> Isn't anyone ever concerned that specimens examined in such ways could be
> known in even more detail through advances in scanning technology in the
> future?  It's like taking a photo, then throwing away the fossil.

Ah, that old debate! We have it in archaeology all the time. Do you
excavate, and actually get some useful data from a site, or preserve it
for future generations, in the hope that their more sophisticated
technology can extract more (and more detailed) information? 

If you choose to preserve it for the future, then who judges when
techniques have reached their technological zenith? A site excavated
yields real information. A site preserved for all time but never
excavated is useless to science.

Besides; perhaps by destroying a few fossils like this, the scanning
technology can be improved and refined to the benefit of future fossils
(and research in general). 

What if you preserved all the most important finds, and they end up
being bombed to dust during the next war (a la Spinosaurus)? Anything
destructive techniques could have taught us would be gone forever, with
the final outcome of the fossil the same either way. Fossils aren't

"Ya can't make an omelette without breakin' a few eggs!"


Dann Pigdon                   Australian Dinosaurs:
GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj/