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Re: Chinese peasants battle police over dinosaur fossils
On Nov 28, 2007, at 5:37 AM, Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:
The armed stand-off between the Chinese peasants who discovered the
dinosaur fossils and the government is not unique to China.
Similar conflicts over fossils have occurred recently, for example in
Mexico, between villagers and government and museum officials, and in
the Badlands of South Dakota, between Sioux Indians and the National
The history of powerful authorities appropriating valuable fossils
discovered by local people is ancient:
In 560 BC, the Spartans took important fossils away from Greek villagers
The Roman Emperor Augustus plundered fossils from Greek temples for
his imperial museum in Rome
In 1794, Napoleon removed the Maastricht Mosasaur from Holland (the
skull is still on display in Paris).
On Nov 2, I presented a talk ("Whose Bones? Whose Story?") about the
ancient, international history of conflicts over the ownership of
significant fossils at the History of Science Society annual meeting
in Washington DC. I'd be happy to share this paper with any who
contact me off list.