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Montana: Dinosaur Hunter Shamed

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avatar Montana: Dinosaur Hunter Shamed
December 15, 2009 08:41PM
Rise and fall of a dinosaur hunter

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427381.400-rise-and-fall-of-a-dinosaur-hunter.html?full=true

ANYONE who met Nate Murphy would think he had lived and breathed dinosaurs all his life. He's the sort of man who stands out in a crowd: stocky, outgoing and invariably wearing a straw hat and shorts. He never claimed to be a dinosaur scientist, just a regular guy with a love for fossils and a knack for finding them.

Such enthusiastic amateur fossil hunters play a crucial role in the palaeontological ecosystem. They roam the wide open spaces of places like Montana, spotting fossils and digging bones side by side with the professionals. They share the camaraderie of the camp and the thrill of uncovering fossils. And once in a while they make spectacular discoveries, like Leonardo, an exceptionally well preserved "dinosaur mummy" complete with the remains of its last meal....

That was until a small but spectacular fossil nicknamed Sid Vicious brought Murphy to grief. Early this year, Murphy pleaded guilty to the serious crimes of stealing fossils from private and federal land, earning him fines and a jail sentence. This is the story of his rise and fall, and how it has damaged the vital trust among professional palaeontologists, amateurs and the owners of the land they scour for fossils.....



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
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