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Re: The Falcarius story by a non-science reporter

Dear List,

    The short blurb plays fast and loose with the facts. Jim Kirkland had
nothing to do with the prosecution of the fossil thief. Jim Told the guy
that if he showed were the site was, gave all bones back, and made
restitution for all the fossils he sold, Kirkland would do his best to see
that he didn't do any jail time. After the person agreed, The BLM decided to
prosecute anyway. Jim is a State employee, not federal. If the feds wanted
to persue a perp, there was nothing anyone else on a state level could do.
Making it sound like Kirkland was sweated on the stand like a typical " Law
and Order " episode is complete nonsense.
    Incidently the tired Andy warhol 15 minute phraise applys to people
non-famous. Long before the Falcarius buzz, Kirkland was already a well
known paleontologist with a vast number of papers and media events behind
him .
    I don't think that all reporters are idiots, but they do seem to be
coming out of the woodwork laely.

    Also chronically misquoted Cliff

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jeff Hecht" <jeff@jeffhecht.com>
To: <mkirkaldy@aol.com>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 8:03 AM
Subject: Re: The Falcarius story by a non-science reporter

> That kind of one-paragraph story is very hard to do right. The back story
of how Falcarius was found is interesting, and raises interesting questions
about fossil poaching -- but even that wasn't handled well. -- Jeff Hecht
> At 9:44 AM -0400 5/13/05, mkirkaldy@aol.com wrote:
> >The reporter has no understanding of the topic or issues, and note the
snide comment about 15 minutes of fame:
> >
> >TIME Magazine, May 09, 2005, p. 20
> >Notebook
> >Missing Link
> >
> >"Someone in Hollywood should snap up the movie rights to the backstory of
Falcarius utahensis, the 125 million-year-old dinosaur with 4-in. claws and
spoon-shaped molars unveiled last week. Scientists say it offers the first
glimpse into how dinos made the transition from small, agile meat eaters to
elephant-size vegetarians. Falcarius, as it turns out, was dug up by a
black-market fossil collector named Lawrence Walker, who found it on federal
land in Utah while digging at night under a tarp. Convinced he was onto
something big, the poacher tipped off a paleontologist he knew, James
Kirkland, and led him to the site. Kirkland tried to protect his source but,
asked under oath how the dinosaur was discovered, reluctantly turned Walker
in. Kirkland got his 15 minutes of fame last week. Walker served five months
in prison. --By Coco Masters"
> >
> >Mary