[meteorite-list] Future of Meteorite Collecting Linked to Commercial Fossil Controversy

From: Frank Prochaska <fprochas_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:42:03 2004
Message-ID: <NDBBICFKNKHAAEEJLDALAEMFCGAA.fprochas_at_premier1.net>

In a way, I see the two threads, Future of Meteorite collecting/fossil news
article and the NWA/Sahara debate to be related.

I remember having a "discussion" with a geology professor a decade ago about
commercial fossil hunting. It was not much different than the debate laid
out in the recent news article, and I remember believing in my arguments
about the fossils but also thinking about meteorites in the back of my mind.
This is not a new issue or a new debate.

The only way, in my opinion, to "win" in the long run for our collective
point of view, is to gain popularity with the public and allow more people
to get excited about meteorites, so they understand a little more not only
about meteorites but the issues involved in finding and recovering them.
Really, a few hundred serious collectors will not be much of a match in the
political process as a special interest group. Framed as a public issue
though, would help immensely. Public school children in Oregon and the
Native American tribes got a lot farther dealing with the Willamette
meteorite than any group of us probably could have. Steve Sachs said in a
recent post on the NWA issue "Obviously meteorites will never have the
public "hold" on people the way
Fossils have had on our young people", but I have to disagree. I have
spoken to a number of children, through schools, cub scout troops, etc.,
about meteorites, and I think kids today get as excited or more excited
about meteorites than fossils. They are actually related through extintions
even. I think the more people do to share meteorites with others, with a
healthy discussion of not only the scientific aspects but all the other
issues involved, the better off the entire meteorite community is, science
included. Again, this is where the NWAs and Saharas can play a huge role,
as already stated by many. Kids (and adults) get much more excited by a big
ordinary chondrite they can hold in their hand than the 3 grams of Murchison
I'm afraid to take from under the glass in a room of 25 ten year olds. I've
yet to mention rusty meteorite laws and so on when talking with kids and
teachers, but I'm starting with my next presentation.

This week I get to go to seven class rooms this week. This is more than
I've done in the last several years put together, but I am looking forward
to it. It really is a lot of fun. If more people on the list tried this,
or tried something for all ages at a library or astronomy club, or
something, I think they'd get a lot of satisfaction out of it, and I think
the meteorite community would be better off.

Just my opinion.

Frank Prochaska
Received on Mon 22 Jan 2001 05:43:24 PM PST

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