A recent auction in Paris, France saw two 150 million year old dinosaur skeletons sell to undisclosed buyers for the equivalent of $4.25 million Canadian.
 
Dan Spivak is Director of Resource Management for the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller.
 
"The scientific importance of even individual specimens can be quite high and to have those specimens available to scientists for study, or the public for viewing,  I think is really important," he told 99.5 Drum FM. "There are people that treat these fossils like works of art (and) it does represent a major loss to science."
 
When you have paleontologists who have spent their lives essentially studying the minutia, in some cases, even little individual bumps on bones and things like that can say a lot to a paleontologist about how these animals lived, how they're related to each other, that sort of thing."
 
Spivak believes the skeletons of a juvenile Diploducus and a young Allosaurus probably were collected in the United States, where it is legal to sell fossils taken from private land. In Canada, particularly in Alberta, it is not.
 
"Basically, you can pick a fossil up off the ground but you cannot excavate for that fossil," he explained. "You have to have a post-graduate degree in paleontology before we'll even consider issuing a permit to allow somebody to collect fossils."
 
To learn more about the laws around collecting fossils in the Drumheller Valley follow this link.
 

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