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Re: Stegosaurus preparation photos take two...

I think after Scott post there's not very much else to say...
Paleontology is not a pseudo science neither is a whimsical state of mind. That we can add art to it is a completely different matter; the bones are there to be studied scientifically. I understand though that many field collectors with little paleontological training CAN have a better eye than many paleontologists when it comes to spot fossils... but that is completely another matter!

And regarding spelling... it is "Palaeontology" in these shores... what happened?

On 26 Apr 2005, at 03:31, MKIRKALDY@aol.com wrote:

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. This
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 these
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. On
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

Luis Rey

Visit my website on http://www.ndirect.co.uk/~luisrey