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RE: Publication and the Code

While the need to access available material, one should not argue that mounted 
material is somehow _less_ available than unmounted material. It is somewhat 
more available, in fact. The issue lies in how the material is presented. As 
Mickey said, the holotypes of some taxa are mounted into walls or on plaques; 
but this is true for most of the Lyme Regis material that spurred paleontology, 
the holotype of *Liliensternus liliensterni,* the entire Sihetun fauna 
(preventing out-prepping for examination), etc. The holotypes of the world's 
most famous dinosaurs are _all_ mounted: *Tyrannosaurus rex,* *Apatosaurus 
lousisae,* *Diplodocus carnegii,* etc. Others are wall mounts, or were until 
recently, including *Edmontonia rugosidens,* *Ornitholestes hermannii,* etc.

  The issue is that when possible, mounting a specimen does two things: It 
increases viewability of the material in a three-dimensional environment, and 
it also separates the viewer from the tactile neccessity of examination. The 
former is a good thing for workers who will not need to have to move the 
material themselves, while the latter is not because distance does not help 
minute examination. These are used for primarily commerical purposes (distance 
prevents damage from visitors, while mounting increases the sense of quality of 
the material as though a living animal might be there, and have done nothing 
but increase the interest in paleontology among our youth), but they can be 
modified for investigation: FMNH PR2081 (*Tyrannosaurus rex,* aka "Sue") is 
mounted in a fashion that permits removal of individual elements, but is still 

  Wall mounting has the advantage of conserving space while permitting 
visibility, and when possible, can be done in a pseudo three-dimensional 
manner, with the limbs and ribs projecting out from imbedded vertebrae. While 
this is not the case for plaque-specimens (such as the "Roadkill" *Stegosaurus* 
in the DMNS or the Lyme Regis specimens, or the Solnhofen material), it is the 
case for others, and is used for a particular, practical, and reasonable 
purpose. Stepping back from such a method, either removal of mounts for drawers 
and bins, or a "Sue"-like approach undertaken by the FMNH, or casting the 
material for mounts and removing the rest to storage, requires that space be 
guaranteed, and of these methods, mounting the original in a wall is the 
easiest and least space-taking method possible while still permitting visbility 
of at least one side.

  One should never render the mounting process to a "bad" thing, save for the 
method of mounting being deliberately obfuscating ("of [...] one side"), and 
the time and effort to examine well-mounted and accessible taxa (e.g., the 
sauropods of the turn of the last century) should be a priority, as well as 
rendering such mounts in the most accessible manner possible.


Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion 

> Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2010 20:45:54 -0700
> From: mickey_mortimer111@msn.com
> To: vrtpaleo@usc.edu; dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: RE: Publication and the Code
> Jay wrote-
> > > As for the specimens being privately owned, the holotype is said to be "on
> > >public exhibition at the Washakie Museum and Cultral Center, Worland 
> > >>Wyoming."
> > >So it seems publically accessable to me.
> >
> > Said to be on public exhibition is NOT the same as being scientifically
> > accessible in the sense most researchers would see it. The authors don't
> > actually say if it is permanent or temporary display, if it is a replica or
> > original on display (I'm assuming original based on their wording, though 
> > to me
> > it seems more profitable to sell display casts).
> >
> >
> > I'm somewhat bewildered that you Mickey, of all people, would feel it is
> > "accessible". Verifying supposed data by standing afar behind a barrier to 
> > only
> > look at or note generalities is totally inadequate. This is a purported 
> > holotype
> > specimen, so it should in a public repository, available for scientific
> > verification in a non-limited way. I've walked in several exhibitions/public
> > displays of fossils in the past only to be told I was not to take photos, 
> > so i'm
> > also wondering if anyone wanting to look at the "holotype" of 
> > "brontodiplodocus"
> > might need to verify if they are permitted photos.
> Ideally it'd be great if all holotypes were easily accessable in a collection 
> room, but this isn't how things are.  Among the taxa that come to mind, both 
> Monolophosaurus and Sinraptor are stuck mounted on walls, so when Brusatte et 
> al. redescribed the former they could only describe certain views of the 
> bones.  The holotypes of both Deinocheirus and Anserimimus are mounted on 
> display.  The holotype of Alxasaurus was mostly missing from the IVPP when 
> Zanno visited, so is hopefully on tour instead of lost.  Among sauropods, a 
> lot of holotype specimens are stuck mounted in exhibits, like 
> Opisthocoelicaudia and most specimens from China I think.  I'm sure Taylor 
> and other sauropod workers have stories of trying to measure and examine 
> mounted specimens.
> Mickey Mortimer