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Re: Antonio's grant

I thank everybody for the answers to my message "Antonio's grant".

My dilemma was: should I give it up with the study of Antonio, or find
other ways to support it (also by my few own savings)? Like many of you, I
started to love dinosaurs when I was a child and I still consider the
chance of studying a new species of an extinct organism as one of the most
exciting events that could happen to me.

My problem is simple. Six years after the excavation of the specimen, the
Ministery of the Italian Government deputed to Cultural Goods preservation
decided that it is arrived the time to me of studying the specimen, in
partnership with the Franch paleontologist Eric Buffetaut. Eric is
sponsored by his government, while my government has no money to support
me. Eric lives far away the place where Antonio is exhibited and cannot be
there all the time; I live closer and I can go and check a character on the
specimen when necessary. I sent a research grant application to the
Jurassic Foundation to support my expenses, estimated in 863 USD, without
I wish to underline two points, to justify the budget of 863 USD. 
First, the cost of gasoline is high in Italy with respect to the cost in
USA (about 1.5 USD per liter; and salaries are lower than in USA), thus
most of the budget regards transportation. Second, there is a lot of work
to do on the specimen because it is preserved crushed on a large slab of
limestone and some parts damaged during the extraction were skillfully
reconstructed by resin with the same color of the bone.

It is worth to underline that Antonio (4,5 m long) is just one of the
probably dwarf hadrosaurian specimens found in the Villaggio del Pescatore
site. There are around ten other remains. A second, originally complete and
articulated skeleton (nicknamed Bruno) was partly destroied by the
bulldozer removing the boulder containing it. However, the pelvis, part of
the tail and other bones are still preserved. Then there is a nearly
complete, but strongly, crushed skull + lower jaw, two hands with relative
radius+ulna, a prepubic process of the pubis, the distal segment of a tail,
a single cervical vertebra, etc. All of those specimens should be
considered along with Antonio and some need further preparation.

I consider a big responsability the economical support offered by some
members of the DML (Allan, David, Don, Frank, Louise, Jim, Mike, Patti,
Rik, Tommy), and I thank them for the offering. What can I offer in exchange?
I do not know if I will be able to mention all of them in the
Acknowledgements section of the final paper, because of the strong space
limitations of many journals. I could write "supported by a grant from the
DML", but this cannot be done without the approval of all the members and
of the leaders of the list. Of course, I can send a PDF of the paper, if
this is allowed by the journal where it will be published, and in any case
I will send reprints. I can keep informed the donors about the development
of the project and the way the money is spent.

To receive small amounts of USA currency here in Italy is not easy and the
risk is to pay more of transfer and change expenses than that I receive. 
I think that the suggestion by Frank Bliss and Phil Bigelow to collect all
the donations in USA to ship it to Italy in a single tranche is the best way.
As far as I know the safer way to transfer money is bank to bank, i.e. from
a USA bank to my bank in Italy. I also suggested a money transfer to my
bank account (using international bank coordinates) instead of the usual
check in the unsuccessful research grant application form to the JF. The
bank takes for the transfer a fix tax around 15-20 USD (I do not remember
the exact amount and my bank consultant is now in Rome) and the 0.3% of the

As I told you in another message, I did never use ebay before, thus I do
not know how paypal works in practice. I do not know the reason, but I
cannot have a connection to https://www.paypal.com   and
I will look for info especially about how paypal works in Italy (it could
differ from USA because of the different tax systems) and I will inform
about the availability of this way of fund transfer those of you interested. 

I thank you again


Fabio M. Dalla Vecchia, Ph.D.
Via Marche 33
I-33030 Colloredo di Prato