Today the BBC reported that a private collector has recovered a nearly complete specimen of the famous extra-long-necked, extra-long-tailed sauropod dinosaur Diplodocus from private land in Wyoming. The specimen will be sold off by an English auction house.
I think this is a shame. According to the auction house, there are only six comparable Diplodocus fossils in the world. Not only will this rarity potentially be lost to science, but it sounds like some valuable information on the way the bones were situated in the field already has been lost:
[The Diplodocus] was assembled by Dutch “dinosaur builder” Aart Walen, who said arranging it in his laboratory proved to be difficult.
“[If I’m excavating a dinosaur] I know nearly each piece, from which dinosaur and which part of the body, but to get a bag [full of bones] is a nightmare,” he said.
At least the legal provenance of this specimen seems sure, and we can be confident it wasn’t smuggled out of Mongolia.