A Kansas man is receiving the ire of the scientific community for his decision to sell a skeleton of a young T. rex on eBay. Fossil hunter Alan Detrich posted the relic on the auction site hoping to attract the attention of a wealthy collector.
A number of people in the scientific community fear that instead of keeping the specimen on display in a museum for public enjoyment and research, the baby T. rex will disappear into a private collection, cutting it off from future research opportunities.
The T. rex was discovered in Hell Creek Formation in Montana on leased land that Detrich used to search for fossils. The eBay listing says it has a 15-foot-long body and 21-inch skull, and that the young dinosaur was about four years old when it died. Detrich also wrote that the specimen is "most likely the only baby t-rex in the world."
Two years ago, Detrich lent the specimen to the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, where it was on display until they recently returned it to him. Some are accusing Detrich of lending the specimen to the University of Kansas in an effort to gain public interest before posting it for sale online.
The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) even wrote a response regarding the sale of the fossil.
"SVP is concerned because the fossil, which represents a unique part of life’s past, may be lost from the public trust, and because its owner used the specimen’s scientific importance, including its exhibition status at KU, as part of his advertising strategy," wrote Emily J. Rayfield, Ph.D, President of SVP.
The Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas said it "does not sell or mediate the sale of specimens to private individuals," and asked Detrich to remove any mention of the museum in his eBay listing-a request he complied with.
Rayfield and other members of the Society also expressed concern about what the sale could mean for the future of found fossils and specimens. "These events undermine the scientific process for studying past life as well as the prospect for future generations to share the natural heritage of our planet."
As of publish time, Detrich's listing has 4,579watchers and climbing.
Source: The New York Times
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