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Slideshow: America's Fossil Record Up for Sale

The United States is rich in spectacular vertebrate fossils, from perfectly preserved 50-million-year-old fish in Wyoming to gigantic dinosaurs from Montana. Paleontologists at universities and museums study this bounty, but a growing number of commercial collectors also dig up fossils legally from private land and sell them. Academic paleontologists fear that valuable fossils are being lost to science, while commercial collectors say their business follows American traditions of free enterprise and property rights.

For more on the growing schism between paleontologists and commercial collectors, see “Selling America’s Fossil Record” in this week’s issue of Science.