UNIDROID & threat t

Alberto Correa de Vasconcellos acvascon at AX.APC.ORG
Fri Jul 14 08:59:02 CDT 1995

To: taxacom at cmsa.berkeley.edu

" >I am very pleased of this interesting discussion but, I would like to find
  >solutions of this problem. What we can do? How to be prepared? Would be good
  >idea to added some paragraph into ICZN - 4?

" >Regards

" >Vratislav Richard Bejsak

That`s the kind of problem that exists just in paper. We all know that any
material will be forward back to their countries. A useful discussion would
be on how to restrain such attitude from researchers that usually obtain their
material by the wrong means. Just a little piece of history.

Brazilian Cretaceous beds are well known by their fish fossils and
insects. That material is best preserved in the "Chapada do Araripe",
Northern Brasil. A poor region with high levels of infant mortality. Well,
before the "advent" of fossils in the region, their people were land workers.
Just after the discovery of a potential new area for digging fossils, things
have changed drastically there. Now most of the population is engaged in
collecting fossils to sell to *eager* reserchers. However, those *alien*
researchers do not help the people of the area. They just need the material,
and to obtain what they want they usually pay less than 50 cents/day to
people there to put in danger their lives in a hole. In a first moment, those
*aliens* researchers were engaged in the whole process, from digging up to
include in their collections. Nowadays things have changed, they do not need
to go to the field, just need to request the help of one of the "agencies" in
the area. They await in a nearby city and a ton of rocks go in their direction.
Very confortable!!! A price is proposed by the "agent" and fossils
fly to a new world, where they will be treated by professionals and housed
in confortable conditions. The most attractive material will certainly be
included in a publication, and if you have the time and money, you can
expend wonderful moments seeing the magnific pictures in "large, yellow,
big books".

The purpose of telling you this too boring history is that the *aliens*
researchers usually do not think that people die during the digging process
for just 50 cent/day. It is not a fault of the institutions that house
that material, sorry but they *do not know about the people in Northern
Brasil* (By the way, where`s Northern Brasil???).

However, the fact that *alien* researchers come to BR to collect their little
fossil fishes and insects is not the worst, but the way the material goes
away. Since we have laws establishing that fossils cannot be trade, comes the
big question, How they fly abroad??? Of course always has a "good hand" in
these moments (and their ownwers talk Portuguese!!!). But since everything
has its price, what these "magic hands" look for themselves??? That`s the
mysterious of life (but scan some well known publications and visit some
well kown institutions and compare the names, some help for obtain a grant to
start a PhD or have a name in a paper is always good, don`t you think).

In an attempt to not boring you too much, I will not mention the
fish-problem in Amazon, that usualy go to far-east and other regions.

Then don`t be affraid about loosing the types, they will not return to their
countries. But try to think about the people that are dying to collect a
fish that passed away in the Cretaceous time. That`s a good paragraph for
a Code.
Alberto Correa de Vasconcellos
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Departamento de Geologia

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