The following has been transcribed from the handy Bureau Of Land Management Brochure, entitled Fossils On America's Public Lands. Permission to use verbatim the contents of this brochure was kindly granted by the main Nevada branch of the BLM.

 Fossils On America's Public Lands

Did You Know...that dinosaurs made nests and cared for their young?...that 99 percent of all organisms that ever lived are believed to be extinct?...that there are more than 10,000 trilobite species?...that paleontologists, both professional and amateur, as well as concerned citizens like you, make these exciting discoveries possible?

Americans have inherited an extraordinary legacy--the 264 million acres of public lands administered on their behalf by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These lands, located primarily in the Western United States, contain a remarkable array of natural, historical, and cultural treasures. And none is more remarkable than the public land's fossils, which remind us of life from long ago. The BLM hopes that this short guide will help you not only understand more about the importance of these fossils, but also appreciate the public lands that preserve these remnants of past ages.

What Is Paleontology?

Derived from the Greek word meaning "ancient life", paleontology is the study of fossils, the remains or traces of any ancient organism. Through careful collection and study of our nation's fossils, we can learn the story of origins and endings--life, death, and change--played out over nearly 4 billion years of the Earth's 4.5 billion year history.

Many kinds of fossils can be found on the public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Public lands not only provide outstanding laboratories and classrooms for the study of paleontology, but also make significant contributions to our knowledge of the Earth's history. For example, BLM's Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry has produced material for public exhibits for over 40 museums world wide.

Why Is The Study Of Fossils Important?

Fossils--from the tiniest bacteria to some of the largest creatures ever to roam the Earth, swim in its seas, or soar in its skies--are clues which help us to solve the fascinating riddles of how life on Earth evolved. Fossils illustrate how all forms of life, including people, are interdependent and affected by their environment. They also contribute to the way we live. Fossils constitute the bulk of many rock types, such as coal, phosphate, and limestone, or serve as indicators of other commodities, such as oil and gas, which are important in our economy and everyday lives. But in addition, fossils are simply fun to study because of their natural beauty and the excitement, wonder, and understanding they evoke about life in ancient worlds lost in time, worlds that we can only imagine.

Can I Collect Fossils?

On private lands, fossils may only be collected with the permission of the landowner. However, on public lands, unless otherwise posted, collectors can collect a wide variety of fossils within certain restrictions:

Invertebrates: Reasonable amounts of invertebrate fossils, such as trilobites, brachiopods, and gastropods, as well as fossil plants, may be collected. No permit is required for such activities, but it is always a good idea to stop by the nearest BLM office to check on local conditions, such as fire danger, road closures, etc. The invertebrate and plant fossils you collect are for your personal use and enjoyment, and may not be bartered or sold. Please remember to leave some for the next collector, too.

Petrified Wood: You may collect up to 25 pounds of petrified wood, plus one piece, each day, but no more than 250 pounds in any calendar year without a permit. You may not combine your allowance with another collector's allowance to obtain larger pieces of petrified wood. A special "Free Use Permit" is required to obtain pieces of petrified wood over 250 pounds. As with invertebrate fossils, collections of petrified wood are for your own personal use and may not be bartered or sold.

Vertebrates: Because of their relative rarity and scientific importance, vertebrate fossils may only be collected with a permit. Vertebrate fossils are fragile and complex; therefore, permit applicants must be able to show a sufficient level of training and experience in order to collect them. In addition, all vertebrate fossils collected under a permit must be held in an approved repository. However, this doesn't mean that you cannot be involved in and contribute to today's exciting advances in vertebrate paleontology. Many museums and colleges offer opportunities for volunteers to study and work alongside trained professional paleontologists. Contact them to see how you can help. You can also help the BLM to manage and protect these unique resources better by reporting the location of any vertebrate fossils you find to the nearest BLM office. This way, land managers can then alert professional paleontologists to ensure that the bones are properly removed, studied, and preserved for the benefit of all. Please do not attempt to remove them yourself. Important information may be lost, no matter how careful you might be. There are also serious penalties for unauthorized collection.

All fossils are potentially valuable to science, and your efforts could yield important information. Many museums and universities have paleontologists on staff, and they would be happy to look at your specimens and help you identify them. If they are important, you may be asked to donate them. You might even have a new species named after you!

Archaeological Resources: In rare cases, fossils may be found together with archaeological resources. Such finds are stringently protected by various antiquities laws, and must not be disturbed.

We hope you enjoy your visit to your public lands, and that you'll return again soon, either to find out more about fossils or to take advantage of some of the other opportunities that the public lands offer. If you need more information, please contact any of your nearby BLM offices, some of which are identified in this publication. Be sure to take time to enjoy your public land legacy--what one historian has called "the richest free gift that was ever spread out" to America.

In addition to my many Web pages pertaining to matters paleontological and geological, I also have 9 sites up and running that feature my solo, acoustic, instrumental 6 and 12-string guitar playing--in addition to songs I have recorded with my parents over the years (family music) And it's all free music--for listening and for downloads of the mp3 files.

Jump on over to The Acoustic Guitar Solitaire Of Inyo--A Cyber-CD for 30 covers of some of my favorite songs--all played on a 1976 Martin D-35 6-string guitar.

For 32 mp3 selections of original compositions and covers of some of my favorite songs--all played on a 1970 Stella 12-string guitar, a 1976 Martin D-35 guitar and a Sigma DMISTCE guitar, head on over to Beyond The Timberline--A Cyber-CD .

At The Distant Path--A Cyber CD listen to me play 32 covers and original compositions on a 1976 Martin D-35, a Sigma DMISTCE 6-string guitar and a 1970 Stella 12-string guitar.

Over at Inyo And Folks--A Musical History I've created a page that features 110 songs I recorded with my parents--all played on acoustic 6 and 12-string guitars, banjo, kazoo and tambourine.

Go to Acoustic Stratigraphy: I play 34 covers of some of my favorite songs on acoustic 6 and 12-string guitar.

Back To Badwater--A Cyber-CD: Listen to me play 32 covers and original compositions on 6 and 12-string guitars; it's all free music.

For a streaming m3u playlist of all 332 of my songs placed on the internet, go to All Inyo All The Time. Simply click on the link and all 332 musical selections will play in order of their appearance on the web--from my first Cyber-CD (The Acoustic Guitar Solitaire Of Inyo) to the last, "The Rarities And Alternate Recordings Of Inyo."

Inyo 7--A Cyber CD: Listen to me play 30 covers of some of my favorite songs, plus originals.

The Rarities And Alternate Recordings Of Inyo--A Cyber-CD Listen to me play 32 seldom-heard, rare, alternate recordings of some of my previously released tracks.

Waucoba4@aol.com

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