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Re: Detectives on the trail of fossil looters (retry)
Dan, isn't it reasonable to think that the answer is to do for-profit
digs under the guidance, even control of properly trained personnel?
Seems remarkable to see stories here about universities cutting
back on paleontology while people are willing to risk lengthy
prison terms (for firearms violations if nothing else) in order
to make material available.
The core issue is whether the ultimate disposition of the material
is more significant than obtaining the material before it's destroyed
by natural processes.
Perhaps, with university money drying up, at least to an extent,
the issue can now be posed that starkly.
Maybe the best place to look for new discoveries isn't in a museum
I know this has been debated before, but the question seems more
urgent as fossil collections are being transferred from one institution
to another because of, presumably, the low priority the material
has at the sending facility. This appears to indicate a reduction
in resources for field work. How far should such deterioration
go before a change in policy becomes appropriate?
Are any of my assumptions wrong?
= = = Original message = = =
<< The last paragraph puts the issue into perspective:
"Professional looters, however, are more brazen and have moved
land. It's so lucrative a business that many of the poachers
are armed. And
some, like the one Baldwin stumbled upon using a backhoe to rip
up a 125-foot
long petrified log, carry
automatic weapons. When confronted they often deny doing anything
Baldwin said." >>
This is nothing new. Back when I was doing fieldwork ten
the Park and Forest Service law enforcement officers warned us
to report but to
stay away from those sticky-fingered entrepreneurs saving our
erosion. They even told us what specific weaponage they were
packing. That got
our attention. Problem is that unless you are active in properly-done
people don't tend to care and are more interested in seeing new
whatever sexy new tidbit is being premiered. Students are ones
really taking it
in the shorts. DV
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