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  • A Bone to Pick: The Paleontological Resources Preservation Act and Its Effect on Commercial Paleontology

    This article evaluates the soundness of the PRPA and its likely effect on the Department of the Interior policies. Part I explains the scientific importance of paleontological resources and why they should be protected. Part II discusses how the United States managed paleontological resources before the PRPA. Part III explains the PRPA and the changes it will likely make to the current permit systems. Potential problems are then discussed. Part IV posits that the PRPA kept what was good about federal fossil management, including the Bureau of Land Management’s permit system, and made some improvements, including explicit protections, policies, and penalties. However, the PRPA goes too far in fossil protection at the expense of fossil proliferation. This article advocates an amendment that would allow commercial collectors to participate in the PRPA’s permit system, leading to the preservation of more fossils for public enjoyment and scientific research.