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Re: Sick of all the Crap on the DML

Scott Fisher was conflating Nate Murphy's situation and commercial collecting. There is a big difference between legal commercial collecting, under permit or with land owner's permission, and stealing fossils, from either private or public lands. I would hope that everyone can at least agree that the latter should be condemned. An analogy would be the difference between you deciding to sell me something that is yours and my breaking into your house and just taking it because I want it.


Stephen V. Cole wrote:
I for one learn a lot from watching dino scientists comment on silly movies. always pick up a new fact or two, more by accident than anything else, but always a good read.

Commercial fossils are a hot topic. Scientists hate the whole idea since the contesxt is often lost and the specimen sometimes is. (And, ok, a few scientists are just greedy bastards who want every fossil in their own locked cabinet, and preferably for free. We all heard the story of the guy in Oklahoma who somehow tricked the state legislature into giving him ownership of every fossil.) Most, however, just don't want the loss to science. And it is a crying shame that there are zillions of fossils in museum storage rooms nobody had the time or money to prepare. As a fun hypothetical question, I once asked a dino scientist "If I won the lottery and offered to fund an expedition, where would we go?" and his response was that he'd rather use the money to pay fossil preparation technicians than to go dig up something new.

I have got a few dino teeth and a square foot or two of coelophysis trackway. None of them scientifically significant, but I have no idea where they were found, what location, depth, for mation, or whatever. The local museum guy knows me, and ha s a file folder with photos of my collection. He's never come around asking to measure the Albertosaurus tooth, but hey, if he does, he can.

Part of the problem with such commercial fossils is that something truly new might be in a private collection and lost to science and science would never have that piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Part of the problem is that we don't always know what we think we do. There is a theory (I seem to recall) that there are two kinds of T-rexes, but until we find another 20 or 30 skulls and can line them all up and measure them, we won't know for sure. I guess, in theory, if there are 20 or 30 T-rex skulls unknown to science, they might solve the question.

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