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Has South America Banned Private Fossil Collecting Entirely?

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Carcharodontosaurus

I do know that Brazil, Argentina and Peru have banned private fossil collecting. Does it apply to all of South America, or just these countries?

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Fruitbat

Good question...but because each country in South America is a sovereign nation, the laws that apply in one of them do not automatically extend to the others.

-Joe

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Josesaurus rex

Chile too.  But as mentioned before, each country has its own laws, so it is difficult to know if all of South America has banned private fossil collection.

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BellamyBlake

These are extremely complex laws and have to be explored as they pertain to individual nations in that region.

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will stevenson

could i ask why it is banned? to me that is a very negative thing, it discourages new scientists delving into that field and i dont reallly see what benefits it brings other than maybe protecting a few sites

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jpc

Bolivia, too, I have heard.  

 

This is a common scenario in many developing countries, as well as developed countries... Italy, Spain, China, Mongolia, Alberta,  Niger, Tanzania, the list goes on.  Supposedly to keep the local natural history local.  

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connorp
5 hours ago, will stevenson said:

could i ask why it is banned? to me that is a very negative thing, it discourages new scientists delving into that field and i dont reallly see what benefits it brings other than maybe protecting a few sites

A quote from @Boesse in a similar thread on Mexico:

"I know I have always read this, and it seems to be colloquial knowledge - and I think the lack of Mexican fossils for sale commercially is especially telling. You have to be able to appreciate the history of Mexico and foreign powers, colonialism, and the immense - and threatened - archaeological wealth of the country to understand why the laws in Mexico are so strict."

Whether such a sentiment has influenced laws in other South American countries I can't say for certain, but this history is certainly one shared by many countries on the continent.

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will stevenson
12 hours ago, Boesse said:

Many countries that have historically been a source of colonial exports & exploitation have passed legislation to protect what resources - cultural and natural alike - they still have. It's not up to you or I to pass judgement on their practices.

 

As for discouraging science - there is a bit of a colonialist problem that still pervades certain countries, and as a result, it's taken programs in South America and Africa decades to get on their feet and start doing "home grown" paleontological research on their own soil. So, these laws actually help "native" paleontologists and scientists - at the expense of benefiting foreigners. Surely an englishman, within a few hour's drive of the Rosetta Stone, should be able to grasp why there might be some motivation for these countries to pass such laws.

Obviously you are right there, I wasn’t thinking so much for a perspective of us going to there to collect I was more thinking amateurs in that country being able to have their own collection, amateurs often make some significant discoveries, I could definitely understand exportation being illegal though which I think is more forward thinking, however as you said it’s not up to me

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jpc

We have also had a member from one of these countries (which will remain nameless) who had created a respectable collection from mostly the USA and the local cops in his/her country got wind of this and accused him/her of stealing from the local Prehistoric culture.  It cost him/her a lot of money and trouble to clear his/her name.  He/she never mentioned it here so I am being purposefully vague.  

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will stevenson
3 hours ago, FossilDAWG said:

In at least some of those countries/provinces locals can collect, with limits.  You can surface collect (but not dig or quarry) in Alberta, but you cannot remove anything from the province without a permit that cannot be obtained just to sell fossils, as one example.  We have members past and present from Alberta who post impressive collections and finds, but those collections technically remain the property of the province and they are legally speaking caretakers.

 

Similar laws may (or may not) apply to the other countries/jurisdictions mentioned.  It is a little misleading to say that private collections are banned, though.  You probably can still collect via legal purchases, as some of our members do who live in non-fossil-bearing areas such as Singapore.

 

Don

sorry i must have misunderstood, i took it to mean private collections were banned thanks for the clarification:)

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Boesse
5 hours ago, will stevenson said:

Obviously you are right there, I wasn’t thinking so much for a perspective of us going to there to collect I was more thinking amateurs in that country being able to have their own collection, amateurs often make some significant discoveries, I could definitely understand exportation being illegal though which I think is more forward thinking, however as you said it’s not up to me

 

Indeed, this is the situation that many paleontologists ironically want to prevent. I am pretty fiercely defensive of the rights of amateur collectors - so there is certainly a toll taken on amateurs in the crossfire.

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Wrangellian
On 9/21/2020 at 12:52 PM, jpc said:

We have also had a member from one of these countries (which will remain nameless) who had created a respectable collection from mostly the USA and the local cops in his/her country got wind of this and accused him/her of stealing from the local Prehistoric culture.  It cost him/her a lot of money and trouble to clear his/her name.  He/she never mentioned it here so I am being purposefully vague.  

That sounds like the inevitable result of people who know nothing about fossils making/enforcing fossil regulations. Imagine those people who don't know the difference between paleontology and archeology (all too common) making these decisions. That's what I'm afraid of. Guilty until you've proven yourself innocent, and great personal expense!

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jpc
15 hours ago, Wrangellian said:

That sounds like the inevitable result of people who know nothing about fossils making/enforcing fossil regulations. Imagine those people who don't know the difference between paleontology and archeology (all too common) making these decisions. That's what I'm afraid of. Guilty until you've proven yourself innocent, and great personal expense!

Exactly.

 

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Sinopaleus
On 9/20/2020 at 5:06 PM, jpc said:

Bolivia, too, I have heard.  

 

This is a common scenario in many developing countries, as well as developed countries... Italy, Spain, China, Mongolia, Alberta,  Niger, Tanzania, the list goes on.  Supposedly to keep the local natural history local.  

 

I think there also might be a difference between what is behind the word "collecting". Especially when in another language, I think there might be cases of misunderstandings too. 

From what I know, fossil collecting - as in the case of private collections - is not really frowned upon in China. There are hundreds if not thousands of fossil collectors in China with their own private collections. From my interactions with professionals I would also say there is a generally positive relationship between amateurs and professionals.

fossil collecting - as in the case of collecting fossils from the field - is a bit more iffy. Depends on what you are looking for, and where you are collecting. Most invertebrates are totally fine, but significant vertebrates like dinosaurs or mammals are another matter entirely.

The big red line is when local fossils (especially vertebrates or important-location fossils) leave the country, that is where things become serious.

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