Facts and Fictions of Commercial Paleontology

Fact: Commercial Paleontologist sells their fossils.

Fiction: All fossils are rare and belong in museum. Most museums do not have room for all the fossils they find, and many academic institutions will not collect fossils that are of new or rare species. There are dozens of bone beds for sauropod dinosaurs in Utah but no one wants to dig them because of the cost, size and low scientific importance to the academic institution. 

Fact: Fossils can end up in private collections when sold.

Fiction: Once a fossil ends up in private hands it has lost all scientific value. This is false, many academics choose to ignore privately collected fossil. Most collectors will gladly lend their fossils to institutions for research. However, sadly, many academics choose to ignore amazing finds they do have access to. 

Fact: Most commercial paleontologist do it for the love of science. Most commercial paleontologist are not rich, the headline grabbing T Rex skeleton prices are the exception not the norm. 

Fiction: No dinosaur skeleton shouldn't cost hundreds of thousands of dollar. It takes years, expensive equipment, land, and thousands of hours of labor to dig, mount and display a dinosaur skeleton. Some skeletons can take hundreds of thousands of dollar to dig, mount and display. 

Fact: There are fake fossils out there. Fake fossils exist, always buy from a trusted source. Some fossils are part real and part reconstructed, thee is nothing wrong with this the deal just needs to tell you.

Fiction: That fossil was glues and thus is it reconstructed. Almost all dinosaur fossils need to be glued, especially teeth. Gluing them back together does not mean the fossil is reconstructed.

Fact: Commercial paleontologists who dig in the US must dig on private land. Any vertebrate fossil found on federally owned land is illegal to collect. And even legally collected found on federal land cannot be sold. 

Fiction: Fossils collected long ago on government land cannot be sold. This is false, fossil collected pre laws can be sold. However, it is hard to prove this one way or another.

Fact: Fossils are the gateway to science. The science are so vitally important for kids to learns and owning a real fossils can spark that curiosity of science at a young age!

Fiction: Commercial paleontologist don't like academic paleontologist. This is 100% false, we love working with them. We just don't like being called names by them.