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Douglas Fossils Contact


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I've been trying to get a hold of douglas fossils for a few weeks now via email with no response and I can't get through via fax. Does anybody know if their contact info changed? I found the owners, Dr. Kent Sundell, email address thats connected to his academic job, but im hesitant to use it because its not one associated with douglas fossils and I feel he would not appreciate the two areas being mixed. If anyone knows how to contact douglas fossils it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Was the phone # out of order?

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I haven't tried the phone number, I'm trying to avoid that one because of long distance charges, but when I tried the fax number a couple times it said the line was busy and that never cleared to allow the machine to redial, so it kind of appears like the fax number is no longer active.

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I wonder what the story is. I sent an email to the address on the website three weeks ago with no reply. I haven't tried calling yet.

I'll be interested to see if you can get in touch.

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Ive been to Sundells house but that was about 12 years ago. I remember that JPC used to work with him. Try JP and see what happens. If it was me I would just call him at work and ask for his private number and call him later. Good luck

RB

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I still work with him. I will ask him what is going on. I will see him on Tuesday. RJB's idea is also a good one.

Edited by jpc
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Thanks JPC,

I've been trying to avoid a long distance call myself but was thinking this might be the only option until now.

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i have no clue, I was a little confused as well

Does that mean the business is suspended for now? He's not selling fossils?

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I talked to Kent yesterday... of course he is still selling fossils... he will do that til the day he croaks. But his web site and email are down. He said to contact him via his Casper College email address.... ksundell (at thingy) caspercollege (dot) edu

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Thanks guys,

I sent an email to his work address and got a quick and very helpful reply.

The Fossil Forum crew comes through again!

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Hope he has the cool fossil you are hoping to find.... Oh, and show us some pix if you do get some.

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I am a professor at a public state university. Using my university email for a private business would likely be a firing offense; at a minimum it would earn me an embarrassing and possibly costly reprimand. Not only is it using a taxpayer-funded resource for personal profit, the "powers that be" would likely assume I am using university time (when I'm supposed to be "on the clock") to run my business. Maybe Casper College is different. Anyway, just a word to the wise.

Don

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I work at Casper College too... and when I worked at the U of WY, it was the same. My CC email is my only one, as was my uwyo.edu email many years ago. I use them both for work and personal. Must be a Wyoming thing.... no one here has ever told us that we must use a separate address for personal emails. As for using work time to do personal email... I do most of that over lunchtime.

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Different culture I guess. I'm happy to hear you have a more reasonable system at Casper College. Here we have anti-tax small government groups that do things like use open records requests to get professors email records and scrutinize them for things they find "suspicious". For example, one professor was a serious civil war scholar, though that was not related to his actual area of teaching/research. He published a book on the subject, and some people used google to look up his email (which retrieved his university email) so they could contact him about the book. He was reprimanded for that even though he had no control over the email address outside people decided to use, and he always forwarded such emails to his private email account so he could reply.

We also cannot bring university vehicles home. Occasionally this is a pain when I have to travel and need to be on the road early. I live about 30 minutes east of campus. Often my destination is several hours further east, so it would make sense to bring the car home after work, and early the next morning I could just continue on my way. Instead, I have to drive in to work to get the car, so I have to leave home a full hour earlier than I otherwise would (1/2 hr there, then 1/2 hr to get back where I started). However I have neighbors who will call in a complaint the instant they see a university vehicle parked at a private residence. It's bad enough having to be on the road at 5 AM, it's worse when you have to start at 4 AM because of stupid inflexible rules.

Don

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Although the work vs private email issue is important to respect, I'm much more curious how a museum curator is allowed to also have a business selling fossils. It is a huge conflict of interest, and that is why most museums have a clause explicitly stating the rules if their curator is going to maintain a personal collection (just having fossils at home). Most museum paleontologists are not supposed to have personal collections (at least of non-common fossils), because we are supposed to appreciate fossils for their scientific and educational value. Thus the personal collections of many paleontologists become incorporated into the research and teaching collections of their home institution.

If a curator goes out into the field and legally collects fossils, how does he decide whether to put those specimens into the public museum or his own private collection? If he sees an interesting fossil for sale, how does he decide whether to put those specimens into the public museum or his own private collection? This ethical quandary is even greater when the curator has a financial interest - if he finds a nice fossil, does he put it in the museum collections, or does he sell it? Museum curators generally don't make a big salary.

Even if a curator does the personal collecting on personal time, and clearly says each morning "Today I am collecting for the museum" or "Today I am collecting for myself", there is potential conflict of interest. What if he finds something on a "museum day", decides the museum doesn't need the fossil, and comes back on a "personal day" to collect the fossil and sell it? You can't have the same person making the decision about whether a fossil would be useful for the museum's collections, education, and research, when that person is also the one who would profit by saying "no, it doesn't need to be in the museum".

Having a curator who sells fossils seems like a very hazardous situation, especially because they are some of the same types of fossils displayed at the museum. I assume the museum has a very clear and detailed ethical statement about his activities?

Edited by Opisthotriton
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For example, here are part of the requirements for being a BLM government-approved repository:

http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/ut/natural_resources/cultural/paleo/Paleontology_Documents.Par.34674.File.dat/MINIMUM%20STANDARDS%20FOR%20CURATION%20FACILITIES.pdf

"MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR CURATION FACILITIES
(Simplified from DM 411)
36 CFR 79.9

Section I.8

Museum should implement an ethics policy or follow the Curator’s Code of Ethics at
all times and may additionally have a specific code of ethics regarding the behavior of
curatorial staff that addresses the acquisition of personal collections, outside employment,
and engagement in commercial collecting activities."

So it's possible, as long as the boundaries are clearly defined. Still generally frowned upon, though. Most museums wouldn't want the legal risk.

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Although the work vs private email issue is important to respect, I'm much more curious how a museum curator is allowed to also have a business selling fossils. It is a huge conflict of interest, and that is why most museums have a clause explicitly stating the rules if their curator is going to maintain a personal collection (just having fossils at home). Most museum paleontologists are not supposed to have personal collections (at least of non-common fossils), because we are supposed to appreciate fossils for their scientific and educational value. Thus the personal collections of many paleontologists become incorporated into the research and teaching collections of their home institution.

If a curator goes out into the field and legally collects fossils, how does he decide whether to put those specimens into the public museum or his own private collection? If he sees an interesting fossil for sale, how does he decide whether to put those specimens into the public museum or his own private collection? This ethical quandary is even greater when the curator has a financial interest - if he finds a nice fossil, does he put it in the museum collections, or does he sell it? Museum curators generally don't make a big salary.

Even if a curator does the personal collecting on personal time, and clearly says each morning "Today I am collecting for the museum" or "Today I am collecting for myself", there is potential conflict of interest. What if he finds something on a "museum day", decides the museum doesn't need the fossil, and comes back on a "personal day" to collect the fossil and sell it? You can't have the same person making the decision about whether a fossil would be useful for the museum's collections, education, and research, when that person is also the one who would profit by saying "no, it doesn't need to be in the museum".

Having a curator who sells fossils seems like a very hazardous situation, especially because they are some of the same types of fossils displayed at the museum. I assume the museum has a very clear and detailed ethical statement about his activities?

It's a fine line but one that is surely walkable.

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ophist-

I just accidentally erased my reply, dammit.

Kent is NOT our curator. He is a geology professor. He is not Tate Museum staff. He has a few ranches that he collectes on for his business. He uses these ranches for education as well, leading student trips out there. When the kids go there, they are collecting for themselves, but occasionally someone does donate a find to the museum. Kent has donated quite a few fossils from 'his' ranches to the museum.

I am the closest thing we have to a curator, but I am actually Prep Lab Manager, Field Trip Organizer and Collections Manager. I came to this job with a good 20 ranches that I had persoanlly developed relationships with for my own collecting. And at work, I have developed relationships with a handful more that we collect from for the museum. Generally if I do the footwork to get onto a ranch on my own time, that ranch is for my own collection. Same for the museum. I have had at least one rancher who told me he would like to see fossils from his place go to a museum... so that becomes a museum ranch, even though I did the footwork on my own. The conflict of interest you mentioned is never a problem, in this writer's opinion.

Yes, it is a fine line, but walkable... and we are fullly aware of it.

We are not free to take vehicles home either, but occasionally it does happen. We are a state run college. It is even worse to park one in front of a liquor store....

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...Kent is NOT our curator. He is a geology professor. He is not Tate Museum staff. He has a few ranches that he collectes on for his business. He uses these ranches for education as well, leading student trips out there. When the kids go there, they are collecting for themselves, but occasionally someone does donate a find to the museum. Kent has donated quite a few fossils from 'his' ranches to the museum.

He didn't claim anything different on his website. ;)

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JPC, I'm glad that the balance is working well for you. I still think it's an ethically challenging balance, but that's my opinion. I know of at least one example of someone in a similar situation that did not have good ethics, and it ended badly. So it's good that you can set a good example of how to balance it.

He didn't claim anything different on his website. ;)

I was just confused by the CV listed on his website, http://www.douglasfossils.com/kent.html, which includes:

"PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Geological Consultant, 1980 to present, Wyoming Professional Geologist #937.

Chairman, 2003 to present, Wyoming Board of Professional Geologists, appointed by Governor Dave Freudenthal

Curator, Tate Museum, Casper College, 1994 to present."

The most recent date on there is 2005, so I don't know what "present" means.

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