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fossil collecting in Thailand



Given the recent discussions on the lists about fossil collecting legislation, I thought these recent comments by a French paleontologist who works in Thailand would be of interest:

"Things are getting hot over there because the government is cracking down on illegal fossil collecting. When I was there, a shipment of dinosaur bones bound for the US was seized by customs and I spent some time trying to decide where they came from with my friends of the Thai geological survey. The smuggler faces 7 years in jail and a heavy fine. This story made headlines for at least a week in Thailand. I think people who know about unreported dinosaur sites in Thailand will now either keep very quiet about them, or report them to the authorities. The Thai government is now preparing a really stringent law about fossils. As the Geological Survey will be in charge of everything concerning fossils in the whole country, this is good for our group - but generally speaking I am not really in favor of completely forbidding fossil collecting, as it often leads to interesting finds and professionnal paleontologists cannot be everywhere. Still, fossil smuggling was increasing dangerously in Thailand, so the Thais had not much choice..."