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Re: Stegosaurus preparation photos take two...

Reposted for Scott Hartman:

Hmm...this didn't go through on my end, so I'll send it again to see if  it 
works.  Strange, there is no html or anything in it...

I know  this is a touchy subject...so let me just leap right in:

I have  personally met Kirby, and I can say that he was very pleasant to me.  
That  being said, I do not know much about his personal life and/or finances, 
so I  will forgo any conclusions at this time about his ethics, except to 
concur with  Dan Varner than Big Al was indeed confiscated from his team by the 

I would, however, like to comment on the issue of being a  "paleontologist."  
At our small museum in Wyoming I routinely hear people  with no 
qualifications refer to themselves as "paleontologists" simply because  they 
dig up 
dinosaurs and are more knowledgeable than the tourists they are  working with.  
grates on me constantly, as I expect the word to hold  some value.  I think a 
literal examination of the word makes it pretty  obvious who a paleontologist 
is and isn't.  -ology is defined as: a suffix;  a branch of learning; science, 
study of...; from Greek word logos.  So...it  seems fair to me that a 
paleontologist is someone who studies and contributes to  the science of 
paleontology.  In much the same way that people who look at  nudie magazines 
are not 
dermatologists, I don't think people who collect fossils  as a hobby (or even a 
profession, no matter how valuable that service may be)  are paleontologists, 
regardless of how ethical they are, or how wonderful of  human beings.!
isn't an insult to them; I just think that a  person must participate in the 
science to refer to themselves as a  scientist.  To me this means contributing 
to the peer-reviewed literature,  regardless of educational standing 
(although it is most common for those with Ph  D's to do this contributing).

Now, some private collectors do indeed  publish papers, or at least make 
presentations at SVP; while I may not think too  highly of all the research 
people produce, they are at least participating  in the science, so I don't 
have any real objection to them referring to  themselves as paleontologists.  
the other hand, someone who simply digs  them up (whether for vacation or 
vocation) does not automatically become a  paleontologist, no matter how 
personally satisfying it may be to do  so.

Again, I am not applying this claim to anyone in particular, but I do  think 
it's important to attach meanings to words, and it seems reasonable to me  
that a person must actually do science before she or he can call themselves a  

Scott Hartman
Zoology &  Physiology
University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY 82070

(307)  742-3799