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RE: The fate of Nyctosaurus specimen KJ2



As I said, I can understand this as a political position for why not to publish 
sold fossils, but it's not the reason Mike Taylor gave.

Even so, I'd like to see some studies showing that describing sold fossils 
actually does lead to more fossils being sold before I'd go along with 
abandoning that source of data.  For all we know, we could be giving up 
knowledge for nothing, just because a certain sequence of events sounds 
plausible.  We all know just-so stories and anecdotes don't cut it in science...

Mickey Mortimer

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> Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 06:21:58 -0600
> From: danchure@easilink.com
> To: mickey_mortimer111@msn.com
> CC: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: The fate of Nyctosaurus specimen KJ2
>
> There's is the real possibility that having the specimen described in
> the literature and its significance "professionally authenticated"
> results in a higher market value and desirability of the specimen, which
> causes further depredation of fossils. While I appreciate Chris
> Bennet's concerns, maybe a minimum in such a situation would be to
> describe the specimen only if a high resolution cast can be made and
> deposited in a public repository. The owner might not agree to allow
> that. If so, the solution might be to "Just say no." (I can't believe
> I just quoted Nancy Reagan)
>
> Dan
>
> On 9/22/2011 4:27 AM, Mickey Mortimer wrote:
> > So it would have been better to remain ignorant about Nyctosaurus' crest 
> > morphology than to have it published on and later (probably?) lost to 
> > science? I know the standard reply is that the descriptions now have no 
> > scientific value because they can't be independantly verified, but no one 
> > ever applies this to fossils which are lost in other ways. JVP has 
> > published papers discussing the Spinosaurus holotype for instance, and 
> > unlike KJ2, that doesn't even have a possibility of being recovered for 
> > science. It's also published papers discussing Quetzalcoatlus northropi, 
> > which has been virtually hidden from researchers for decades. How are we 
> > supposed to verify Langston's descriptions under these conditions? And what 
> > happens a century or two from now when specimens like Dryptosaurus break 
> > down from handling and pyrite disease despite being housed in museums? Will 
> > Dryptosaurus then fade from paleontological reality because no one can 
> > verify the published descriptions and photo
> > graphs, even though the majority of experts use them for their information 
> > now?
> >
> > If you want to try to discourage fossil sales by not publishing on sold 
> > fossils, that's a political position people could discuss (though I doubt 
> > the policy has much effect on fossil sales). But it also denies the world 
> > scientific knowledge, even if that knowledge is based on temporary 
> > examination, which is the same of all paleontological knowledge in the long 
> > run. As for me, I'd rather learn everything we can, even when conditions 
> > aren't ideal. There are a finite number of fossils out there, we can't 
> > afford to be choosy if we want to know about them all.
> >
> > Mickey Mortimer
> >
> > ----------------------------------------
> >> Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 10:14:43 +0100
> >> From: mike@indexdata.com
> >> To: Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk
> >> CC: dinosaur@usc.edu
> >> Subject: Re: The fate of Nyctosaurus specimen KJ2
> >>
> >> On 22 September 2011 09:44, Mark Witton<Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk> wrote:
> >>> Hi folks,
> >>>
> >>> I recall reading a discussion a while back about the unknown
> >>> whereabouts of the fancy antlered Nyctosaurus specimens described by
> >>> Chris Bennet in 2003. I'd heard they were up for sale online and, lo,
> >>> one of them has recently been reposted at everyone's favourite online
> >>> auction.
> >>>
> >>> [URL redacted]
> >>>
> >>> Note that the skull has been reconstructed and, apparently, the matrix
> >>> smoothed over with plaster. With no casts of the original available in
> >>> any museums (that I know of, anyway), this is something of a loss to
> >>> pterosaur science. I'm wondering what state the original material is
> >>> actually in now and, should this specimen ever make its way into a
> >>> public collection, how long it would take to undo all the
> >>> 'improvements'.
> >> *sigh*
> >>
> >> Folks, this is exactly why the SVP has a zero-tolerance attitude to
> >> privately owned specimens. From Bennet's (2003) paper:
> >>
> >> "Recently, two new specimens were collected that demonstrate that
> >> Nyctosaurus had a large cranial crest. The specimens were collected
> >> by Mr. Kenneth JENKINS of Ellis, KS, and were purchased by a private
> >> collector in Austin, Texas, who intends to retail them permanently. I
> >> acklowledge that scientifically informative specimens should normally
> >> be conserved in an appropriate museum, but have opted to describe
> >> these specimens now"
> >>
> >> Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
> >>
>
> >> -- Mike.
> >
> >
> >
>
>
>