Sunday, 19 August 2012

Free Tarby Dino Dealer Says He's Not a 'Smuggler,' Calls Fossil 'Political Trophy'

Just to put the other side of the story, here's the version of the man at the centre of the case, Gainsville fossil dealer Eric Prokopi:
Wynne Parry, "Dino Dealer Says He's Not a 'Smuggler,' Calls Fossil 'Political Trophy', Live Science - 22 June 2012.
While one may sympathise, there is the general issue that before putting any substantial investment into working on something, like an old car, historic aeroplane, or a horsehair stuffed sofa, surely it is only wise to thoroughly check out its legal status first.

Mr Prokopi is not a dealer in such items from yesterday. There are laws which affects this type of material, in his own country the USA as well as some of the source countries. Knowing them intimately surely is a fundamental necessity for anyone with any capital tied up in such items (quite apart from any moral or responsibility issues).

This applies to importers of anything like that, such as protected species, antiquities and so on. It is no use counting on nobody noticing and placing hope in "even if they find out, they cannot touch me for it" which seems to prevail in some collecting circles.

I think also a valid question is whether a private collector buying a heavily reconstructed entire tarbosaur skeleton is buying it for the purpose of scientific research or education, or whether he is buying it as a trophy (hence the reconstruction)?

Vignette: Some people have gratuitously slain deer heads on the wall, others want a cool dinosaur skelly in the hallway.

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