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SailingAlongToo

Fight Over Dinosaur Fossils Comes Down to "What is a Mineral?"

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Raggedy Man

Unbelievable

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SailingAlongToo
7 minutes ago, Raggedy Man said:

Unbelievable

 

It's obviously all about the $$ to both parties. They aren't even remotely interested in the science.

 

I realize land and mineral rights in The Badlands are very touchy subjects and very specific areas of legal expertise, as are water rights. But fossils exist because they become mineralized.

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Wrangellian

From the article: "A nearly complete Tyrannosaurus rex found on the property was sold to a Dutch museum for several million dollars in 2014, with the proceeds being held in escrow pending the outcome of the court case."

This sounds familiar....

 

 

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UtahFossilHunter
1 hour ago, Wrangellian said:

From the article: "A nearly complete Tyrannosaurus rex found on the property was sold to a Dutch museum for several million dollars in 2014, with the proceeds being held in escrow pending the outcome of the court case."

This sounds familiar....

 

 

For those who are wondering what @Wrangellian is refering to.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_(dinosaur)

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UtahFossilHunter
2 minutes ago, Praefectus said:

Are you sure he is referencing Sue? I know for a fact that I've seen Sue at the Field Museum before 2014.

As I understood it, he was stating the T-Rex in the article has a similar backstory to what happened with Sue. Not that the T-Rex in the article IS Sue. 

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Wrangellian

No, neither of those... We have (or had?) a member here on TFF who dug one up in Montana and kept us informed of the progress, and then it went to a museum in the Netherlands. I'll see if I can find that thread.

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The Amateur Paleontologist

In my opinion, fossils such as the "Dueling Dinosaurs" should be part of (or at least on loan at) a museum... They are unique, and valuable items which offer snapshots of a 'time long gone'. Everyone should have the right to see and enjoy such fossils :) 

-Christian

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HamptonsDoc

Interesting read. Thanks for posting!

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FossilDAWG

This case involves the T. rex that was found by Forum member Chelle; this is the one that was sold to a Dutch museum.  It also involves the famous "dueling dinosaurs".  When the current owners of the ranch where these (and other) fossils were found bought the property, the previous owners sold the surface rights but retained 2/3 of the mineral rights.  The previous owners sued to claim 2/3 of the proceeds from the sale of the fossils, arguing that they were "minerals" under the law.  The court has now agreed with that argument.  Personally I disagree; if instead of a dinosaur someone found a cache of Mayan gold artifacts, I doubt that the court would say the artifacts were minerals because they were made of gold.  Of course I am not a judge in the case and so my opinion is irrelevant.  However the case is important in regard to future decisions about ownership of fossils on private property.  In theory, if someone found a fossil on their property and donated it to a museum, and it turned out someone else owned the mineral rights, the owner of the mineral rights could demand return of the fossil so they could sell it.  I don't know if the US is unique in treating surface rights separately from mineral rights, but anyone who owns property in the US should check to see if they or someone else owns the mineral rights.

 

Don

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MarcoSr

Jack

 

Wow, this could be a bag of worms for any museum which has fossil specimens excavated from properties in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals area.  I have signed lots of donation forms.  They always require a collector/owner signature but also more and more also require a landowner signature.  I've never seen a donation form with a mineral rights signature also required.  Maybe the really valuable specimens do have this on the donation forms.   @jpc do you have a mineral rights signature on your donation forms?  I'll bet this could trigger all kinds of lawsuits against museums for valuable dinosaur specimens where the mineral rights owner was not the property owner and did not sign the donation paperwork.  Our ranch in Nebraska had at one time an oil and natural gas rights lease on it but the lease time frame has since expired.  Lots of different private properties out that way have mineral rights leases owned by different mining companies.  Also some land owners keep those rights when they sell their properties.  When you buy property out West you really need a good title and land records search to be aware of any mineral rights leases like this on the property.  Some can run for many years across many landowners.

 

Marco Sr.

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Fossildude19

Topics merged.

 

@Scylla  @FossilDAWG

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InfoHungryMom

I have warned about this.  For example, if I find ANY shell or a rock with a possible fossil that is over 50 years-old in Maryland, I am REQUIRED to give it to the state of Maryland.

 

I found a piece of hand-carved stone when I was on vacation that I posted pictures of, that is now being researched by experts.  If it is at all significant, it is immediately considered property of the country I found it in.  No compensation, probably no credit.

 

****We visited Greece and at ALL of the ruins there.  IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO PICK-UP EVEN A PEBBLE ON ANY IMPORTANT SITE***** The country’s budget is so tight that there aren’t sufficient funds for archeological restoration.  In addition, entire portions of sites are “off limits” because they can’t afford sufficient GUARDS to watch over them.   

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steelhead9

So if a fossil now is nothing more than a mineral, why can't commercial diggers and amateur paleontologists get leases to dig on federal lands just as mining companies can get leases to recover the minerals they seek?

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FossilDAWG
1 hour ago, steelhead9 said:

So if a fossil now is nothing more than a mineral, why can't commercial diggers and amateur paleontologists get leases to dig on federal lands just as mining companies can get leases to recover the minerals they seek?

Interesting question! 

 

Don

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jpc
6 hours ago, steelhead9 said:

So if a fossil now is nothing more than a mineral, why can't commercial diggers and amateur paleontologists get leases to dig on federal lands just as mining companies can get leases to recover the minerals they seek?

Did you say Can of Worms? 

 

I read another story about this case last week, and either I misread it, or the decision was the opposite. This decision goes against the Sue case where the court ruled that fossils are indeed surface rights....so I wonder where this will all go.  

 

And, no Marco, we have no mineral rights portion to our donation forms.  

This has great potential to get incredibly ugly. Federal land managers that I know are keeping a close eye on this and pondering the implications.    

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FossilDAWG

A lower court earlier found that fossils are not covered by mineral rights.  Likely that was the story you read.  That decision was appealed, resulting in this more recent decision.  Likely it will be appealed to a still higher court.

 

Don

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SailingAlongToo
10 hours ago, MarcoSr said:

Jack

 

Wow, this could be a bag of worms for any museum which has fossil specimens excavated from properties in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals area.  I have signed lots of donation forms.  They always require a collector/owner signature but also more and more also require a landowner signature.  I've never seen a donation form with a mineral rights signature also required.  Maybe the really valuable specimens do have this on the donation forms.   @jpc do you have a mineral rights signature on your donation forms?  I'll bet this could trigger all kinds of lawsuits against museums for valuable dinosaur specimens where the mineral rights owner was not the property owner and did not sign the donation paperwork.  Our ranch in Nebraska had at one time an oil and natural gas rights lease on it but the lease time frame has since expired.  Lots of different private properties out that way have mineral rights leases owned by different mining companies.  Also some land owners keep those rights when they sell their properties.  When you buy property out West you really need a good title and land records search to be aware of any mineral rights leases like this on the property.  Some can run for many years across many landowners.

 

Marco Sr.

 

Marco,

My 1st thoughts were about M&M and their buddy F. All of the scenarios I can/could imagine are all very bad, expensive and frustrating. I texted them the link but please do pass it on.

 

Cheers,

Jack

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SailingAlongToo
1 hour ago, FossilDAWG said:

A lower court earlier found that fossils are not covered by mineral rights.  Likely that was the story you read.  That decision was appealed, resulting in this more recent decision.  Likely it will be appealed to a still higher court.

 

Don

 

Don,

I'm happy to go with fossils being minerals. I can have multiple LLC / LLP mineral mining companies up and running in multiple states by end of the month, applying for mineral rights on federal lands.

 

Cheers,

SA2

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SailingAlongToo
9 hours ago, Fossildude19 said:

Topics merged.

 

@Scylla  @FossilDAWG

Did you change my title?  :headscratch::faint:

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