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Re: dinosaurs, sharks, and entelodonts up for auction

(Denver's message was originally sent to Vrtpaleo, but the DML wasn't  
discussing the auction until it was over.)
In a message dated 10/3/2009 12:15:42 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
df9465@yahoo.co.uk writes:

< Wow, those Einiosaurus mounts look really  awful, with heavily (badly) 
reconstructed skulls. They'd be a bad deal at 1/10th  of the price.>
They are from Canada Fossils.  "Xenia" is supposedly  75% complete, with 
the skull being about 85% complete.  "Ben" is only 40%  complete.

Nevertheless, they did  sell:
"A  pair of a less-known species of dinosaurs related to the triceratops, 
sold for  440,000 dollars -- below the 500,000 estimate noted in the 
prospectus but,  according to Bonhams & Butterfields, a world auction record 
such an  item."
"They were bought by Larry Lawson of Big Lake, Alaska, who spent about  one 
million dollars in all. The 44-year-old oncologist said the items will 
adorn  his home and offices and be available for schools to visit."
" 'I've been  into this kind of stuff since I was a little boy,' said 
Lawson, who was  attending his first auction. 'I just came to see who was going 
to buy the T-Rex  and to see if I could get anything other than that. Then a 
lot of the prices  just didn't get too bad.'

Now if I were an enterprising and persuasive  paleontologist, I would call 
up this guy and tell him about the load of crapola  he got for his million 
dollars, and what he should instead have done with the  money:
Midnight Sun Oncology - Larry Lawson MD
2490 S Woodworth Loop #  499
Palmer, AK 99645 
(907) 746-7771

<Honestly, why would you  pay 500k for what appears to be mostly fake? 
wouldn't you be better off buying a  proper cast of a more complete specimen, 
from a real institution where the money  goes back into science? It's 
frustrating enough to see good specimens sold at  auction, but when it's trash 
this... you really wonder who is going to buy  it.>

Is Dr. Lawson a member of SVP?  Has he ever been to a  meeting?  If he's 
interested in fossils to the tune of $1 million, he  should be furthering 
science instead of collecting atrium  decorations.

< I hope samson fails to sell.>
Interesting thing  about "Samson" is that they are vague about how much 
real bone is actually  there.  I found this from when Samson was merely Mr. 

Length  of skull 1370 mm  
Length of tooth row, left maxilla 560 mm  (approximately)  
Length of tooth row, left dentary 530 mm   
Length of articulated cervicals from the anterior zygapophysis of C4  to 
the posterior zygapophysis of C10 985 mm 
Length of dorsal 4-6 taken  at base of transverse processes 393 mm  
Length of posterior  dorsal vertebra140 mm 
Height of posterior dorsal vertebra 653 mm   
Length of 13 articulated caudal vertebrae 2780 mm   
Length of centra of two isolated caudals 152 and 132 mm   
Length of femur 1330 mm Circumference of femur 588 mm (indicating a  weight 
of 5.5 metric tonnes)  
Length of fibula 965 mm  (approximately) 
Length of metatarsal II 620 mm  
Length  of metatarsal III 750 mm  
Length of metatarsal IV 640, 655  mm  
Length of phalanx r-1 120 mm 
The total length of  the reconstructed skeleton is estimated to be 
approximately 10.8 m (35 feet).  The total reconstructed height at the hips is 
estimated to be approximately 3.45  m (11.35 feet).  

Another interesting thing about buying  "Samson" is this disclosure:

"Notice Regarding Certain Rights in the  "Samson" Lot:
The purchaser of Lot 23 will acquire full ownership rights in  the skull 
and in the other original fossilized bones comprising the "Samson"  specimen, 
as well as in the cast of "Samson's" skull included in the lot,  including 
all rights to make reproductions of and other copyrights in "Samson's"  
original fossilized bones."

"With respect to the cast reproduction  elements incorporated into the 
specimen (excluding the cast of "Samson's" skull  described above), which cast 
reproduction elements are hereinafter referred to  as the "Cast Elements", 
the purchaser of Lot 23 will acquire ownership rights in  such Cast Elements 
and a fully paid up, perpetual, irrevocable, transferable  license to 
publicly display such Cast Elements as part of the "Samson" specimen  as well 
photographic and resale rights therein; however, the purchaser (and  any 
successor) is not acquiring the right to, and may not, recast (reproduce)  the 
Cast Elements or otherwise create derivative works of the Cast Elements in  
whole or in part, as such rights are reserved by the Black Hills Institute of  
Geological Research, Inc. Cast Elements Copyright (c) BHIGR 1995-2005. All  
rights reserved."

So you get a good skull but you're on your own in  completing the rest of 
the skeleton if you want to make and sell casts.