Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Palaeontology is Not Cheap, Part II

Matthew Brown of SFGate has a story of commercial fossil hunter Nathan Murphy, who got caught red-handed pilfering dinosaur remains on private land:
In 2000, Murphy discovered a mummified, 77-million-year-old duckbilled hadrosaur known as Leonardo, which is considered the best-preserved dinosaur in the world.

The bones of the turkey-size prehistoric raptor at the heart of his theft conviction were found by one of Murphy's workers in 2002. Authorities have seized the bones.

Murphy had sought to have molds of the fossils made that could have brought up to $400,000 in the sale of casts on the retail fossil market, investigators said.

Since he was charged last year, Murphy had claimed honest mistakes led to the investigation. But in an interview Monday, he acknowledged concealing the truth about where the raptor bones were found - and asserted that he is not the only fossil hunter to do so.
As I mentioned in my initial post on this matter, greed for what can be done with these fossils can outweigh any sort of loyalty to what ought to be done with them. Acclaimed fossil hunter or not, he should have known better.

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