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Re: Stegosaurus preparation photos

Good people,
It has always been my position that commercial dealers should be embraced by the SVP et al. The only way to regulate the industry (that will exist no matter what) is to talk to them and create lines of communication and thus cooperation. I personally condone no selling of fossils however. They should be in repository. That being said, pushing away those that believe otherwise is not the way to deal with them. You do not ignore a misbehaving child (metaphorically speaking only), you assist them by giving guidance and working with them. By working with those dealers, we could set up industry wide standards to ensure that important scientific information (that would otherwise be lost) such as context and location info be preserved with the specimen. I imagine an SVP certified fossil with a bar code or identifying number traceable to a data base so when the specimen eventually works it's way back to a museum, it is scientifically usable. Any other path will lead to lost information and the current bias against commercial dealers propagates this. Unfortunately, the polarity of this issue is deeply entrenched and emotional. Anyone else agree?
Frank Bliss
MS Biostratigraphy
Weston, Wyoming

On Apr 25, 2005, at 5:07 PM, michael wrote:

define what constitutes being a fossil dealer? If I am able to buy small
brachiopod fossils at a paleontological museum, does that not make them
fossil dealers? Or is there some cut-off point between acceptable fossil
sales and non-acceptable sales??

tell me you know for a fact where his money comes from? I doubt that you can, and
neither can I. I think Kirby Sieber has given up the vast majority of his
commercial fossil dealings, but I think Bob would know better than I.

As well, I am not aware of Kirby Sieber's education, or lack of it. Do you
know what he does or doesn't have a degree in?

So what you are saying is that ONLY people who have actually gone to school
(what's enough? Masters? PhD? BSc??) are "allowed" to call themselves
paleontologists? I know a lot of people around the world who have no formal
education in paleontology, yet they know a lot more about their areas of
expertise than some "educated" people I know of..... and what about Jack Horner? He is widely accepted as a paleontologist, but I quote (taken from DML archives Feb 25/2001

"Jack Horner indeed has no formal degree, although he had attended the
University of Montana in the 60s and 70s, studying geology and zoology. His
honorary doctorate in science from U. of Montana came the same year (1986) as
he was awarded a MacArthur (Genius) Fellowship." so, Dr. Horner has no real degree in paleontology, yet he is one of the most recognisable names in paleontology in the US. Why? because of the fossil materials he found......NOT because of his education (or lack of it). But, obviously, he is not a paleontologist...according to your definition.

so what constitutes a "real" museum, Dan? Must you go out and collect every
specimen yourself? if that's the case, a lot of the so called "real"
museums in the world are not "real" museums then, because they have bought
fossils over the course of their lives. Must the money come from taxpayer's
dollars, versus private money? Must you have a degree in paleontology to
set up a paleontological museum and try to educate people? Are there
horrific mistakes that Kirby has made in his museum? Has he amalgamated
different Jurassic dinosaurs by mistake and made some kind of Frankensaurus? Has he provided false or
inaccurate info to go with his displays?

Do you consider Sternberg a paleontologist? I have heard him called that
more often than not, yet I can't see where he ever had a degree in
paleontology. Strange how he is credited with so much that, if he did it
today (as some do) he would be a villain instead of a hero. Remember, back
then, I don't think there were a lot of private collectors buying specimens,
and museums hired guys like Sternberg to go out and get their dinosaurs for
them. Which begs the question...if you don't have a degree,should you then
even be ALLOWED to collect a fossil, Dan? It seems to me I have heard you
(and some others) on this list talking about non-professionals and how they
shouldn't be allowed to even collect important vertebrate specimens.

Your bone of contention has been, and always will be, the selling of
fossils.  You hint at that again in your last post.....

I know a lot of people who have financed themselves through university
selling a LOT worse things than fossils.

Strange how I know geology students who make their way through university
financially by selling minerals, entomology students by selling stick bugs,
and archaeology students by selling coins....none of which are ever stigmatized the way paleontology students are for selling fossils.....and least by some.

I really don't know why you have such a hatred for commercial dealers, Dan. I know plenty of PhD's who truly respect and appreciate the valuable contributions made by some commercial fossil dealers, and their scientific work is enhanced by the help they get from these individuals. It's too bad there's no room in your world for a little bit of respect and tolerance.


----- Original Message ----- From: <Danvarner@aol.com> To: <dinosaur@usc.edu> Sent: Monday, April 25, 2005 4:00 PM Subject: Re: Stegosaurus preparation photos

In a message dated 4/25/2005 5:31:24 PM Eastern Standard Time,
dmschmidt@sprint.ca writes:
<< so what if he is, Dan? did you even go to his site? I doubt it...if
did, you would see that it is a website promoting the museum. None of
items on the site are for sale, so what's your issue? >>
Yes, of course I went to the site. My issue is: why not admit openly that
are a fossil dealer? I have done a lot of paleontological collecting and
study, but I would never dream of calling myself a paleontologist. The
(and not so young) folks working on MS and PhD degrees who are busting
bankrolls and behinds without the benefit of selling fossils on the side
are the
ones who deserve to be called paleontologists...in my opinion. I'm
about what constitutes a real scientist and a real museum. I see that
distinction being blurred more and more lately. And in Simon's post.
Obviously, I
hit a nerve. DV