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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Why a 110 million year old raptor skeleton was ever sold for US$12M . Should not have sold at auction for more than

In mid-May, Christie’s auction house in New York sold a raptor skeleton (Deinonychus) for US$12.4 million. It represents a failure to protect and share our natural history with all.

We are paleontologists and represent the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, a group of 2,000 scientists, students and museum professionals from around the world. We’re promoting awareness of the problems caused by high-profile auctions of vertebrate fossils, and why we think they shouldn’t.

Fossils are fascinating and beautiful objects. They provide a glimpse into a vastly different past from our present. We love to see him come alive in movies. As paleontologists, we share the wonder, but when important fossil specimens are kept by individuals and not by public institutions, society loses.

Dinosaur skeletons provide scientific knowledge and educate the public about the history and life of our planet.
(shutterstock)

private ownership, public loss

The loss of high-profile dinosaur skeletons clearly hurts both science and the public. Some countries have a sense of “cultural heritage” which includes not only cultural heritage, but also natural heritage. It informs their laws, and prohibits fossil sales and unauthorized removal of fossils from their countries. When a fossil is sold, this heritage is removed from the people of that country without consent.

When people are allowed access to private fossil collections, often from the country of the buyer and not the country of origin of the specimen, local people are cut off from viewing fossils and learning about their natural heritage. . Not surprisingly, laws protecting cultural and natural heritage are often strongest in countries that have suffered the greatest loss of this heritage, such as Mexico.

How much damage has been caused to the United States and other countries through fossil auctions without legal protection? We are just beginning to understand. of the known specimens of Tyrannosaurus RexOnly 55 percent are in collections in public trusts – and the rest are in private hands.

The scientific community also loses. Specimens sufficiently complete to be sold at legal auction are often of significant scientific value, but may have been produced in ways that increase aesthetic value at the expense of long-term stability.

Philanthropic buyers want scientists to study their specimens, but there is no guarantee that primary data has been recorded, making the fossil less meaningful for scientific research. Casts and CT scans allow some work to continue, but techniques that require examination of the original bone cannot be used, nor can new hypotheses be tested.

Even when the origin—documenting the discovery and acquisition of a fossil—is preserved, specimens kept privately but made available to researchers have subsequently been removed from access, and in some cases have disappeared after the death of their owners. This may have been the case with one of the 12 known specimens of the enigmatic transitional bird. archeopteryx,

market purchase

Legal fossil auctions help drive the black market because higher prices attract more people to dig and sell more fossils of all kinds, and try to export them against local laws. When fossils are viewed as accessories, investments or interior decorations, rather than scientific objects representing the natural heritage of an area, it inspires a desire for these objects.

While not everyone can afford Deinonychus Skeletons, such sales lead to the desire for specimens at all economic levels.

One might ask whether museums can start buying scientifically significant fossils to “save” them. After all, collectors and preparers (scientists who preserve and prepare the specimen) are eligible for payment. However, it is often the middlemen, not the explorers and landowners, who make the most of these sales.

Fossil Of An Archeopteryx, A Bird-Like Dinosaur
an. a fossil of archeopteryx It disappeared after the death of its owner in 1991.
(shutterstock)

Museums, whether public or private, have limited budgets and cannot afford the ever-increasing cost of auctioned specimens. The amount paid for the auctioned raptor will fund the discovery, collection, study, conservation and public display of many more fossils.

living room dinosaur

We are not arguing that commercial collectors have no role, or that no fossils should be sold. However, privately owned dinosaur paleontology does not advance education or education, and such ownership costs the public their access to and knowledge of these fossils.

Whenever a fossil is sold to a private collector, there is no guarantee that it will remain in its country of origin or that it will be displayed to the public or available to scientists. There is also no guarantee that it will be properly maintained and maintained, or that the data collected with it will be protected.

These items are not only beautiful cabinet curiosities, but they hold important information about the history and life of our planet. It is up to all of us, not just scientists, to understand the stories they tell us and protect them for generations to come. In short, we believe it is important to stop auctioning off the world’s natural heritage to the highest bidder.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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