The regulations were required in order to comply the the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act of They create create a spiderweb of beaurocratic red tape which will stifle future research into invertebrate and plant fossils. The 60 day public comment period ends on Feb 6th.
For 70 years, academic paleontologists have been assisted by a dedicated corps of amateurs known as the Dry Dredgers. Recently, one amateur found a very large and very mysterious fossil that has the professionals puzzled. Around million years ago, shallow seas covered the Cincinnati region and harbored one very large and now very mysterious organism.
As for the paper itself, it does point out something that may become a future problem for paleontologists. I started to write a reply to this, then realised it was important enough to merit its own post — so here it is. The amateur and commercial palaeontologists alluded to in the comment are wrong, plainly and simply.
A paleontologist is a scientist who studies fossils. If your basement is filled with fossils found while out on hikes, then you're an amateur paleontologist. Paleontology breaks down to the Greek for "ancient" paleo"being" onto -and "study" -logy.
Stinchcomb, Ph. Amateur paleontology is just that: doing something fossil related often collecting for the love of it rather than for a profit. Amateur paleontology also has a rich and long history in its contribution to geology and the consequent documentation of the fossil record.
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Earth Science. Imagine hitting a rock with a hammer and revealing an impression of an animal or plant that lived hundreds of millions of years ago, and being the first human to ever see it. Besides experiencing the excitement that comes with your discovery, if the fossil is proved to be that of an entirely new species, it could be named after you!
In the summer ofI came across a newspaper item about a Montana man convicted of stealing a dinosaur. The idea sounded preposterous. How was stealing a dinosaur even possible? And who would want to?
Two major professional societies are devoted to paleontology in the U. These are the Paleontological Society, founded inand the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, founded in It is widely appreciated by professionals that the contributions of amateurs enrich the disciplines through activities such as field collecting and the donation of important fossils to research collections in natural history museums. In so doing the amateurs contribute to, and advance the science of paleontology and collaborate with professionals.