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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:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/11/071127-peasants- dinosaurs.html

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 Park Service.

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.