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Re: The (long) future of paleontology



> From: <Ken.Carpenter@dmns.org>
> To: <dannj@alphalink.com.au>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
> Sent: Monday, January 16, 2006 1:56 PM
> Subject: RE: The (long) future of paleontology
> >
> > As one who has monitored the commercial business for years, I can state
> > that in fact paleontology is not becoming more commercial, but less. My
> > close friends at the Black Hills Institute and Western paleo Labs, among
> > others, have been struggling for the past few years. The price of
> > dinosaurs has been dropping for lack of buyers. The Japanese market that
> > for years was driving the market has been pretty much dead for a number
> > of years as well.

By 'more commercial' I don't mean the selling of fossils, but rather 
palaeontology itself becoming more of a business. With decreases in funding, 
palaeontologists have had to raise funds by organising travelling exhibits, 
selling related paraphenalia (casts, t-shirts, posters, etc), or getting big-
name sponsers who are willing to donate money in return for a bit of free 
publicity. Naming dinosaurs after companies has yet to become a blantant 
advertising gimmick (Qantassaurus, Atlascopcosaurus, etc), however it DOES 
indicate to any company that chooses to donate money, equipment or expertise 
that they might just get some lasting publicity out of such philanthropic 
practices.

Pure research with little chance of commercial adaptation (in many scientific 
fields) is becoming increasingly rarer... expecially for such 
practically 'useless' fields as palaeontology (which will never cure dieases, 
feed the starving, etc) that rely more on satisfying human curosity than need.

--
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Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist         http://heretichides.soffiles.com
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
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