Toward a conceptual framework for assessing the human dimensions of paleontological resources

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Dinosaurs and other fossils capture the imagination of people of all ages from around the globe. An assessment of the wide range of human values associated with paleontological resources reveals strong and sometimes conflicting perspectives. Given the fact that fossils are non-renewable resources, decision-making relative to the use, conservation and stewardship of paleontological resources must recognize and consider the human dimensions of fossils. Scientific, educational, recreational, commercial and other human values may directly influence the motivations and behaviors of individuals as they relate to paleontological resources. The unauthorized collection of fossils from public lands, including theft and vandalism, entails a variety of legal, ethical, economic and social factors that need to be assessed in conjunction with the planning and implementation of public policy. The purpose of this review is to initiate the compilation of baseline information on the human dimensions of paleontological resources in order to develop a conceptual framework and more clearly identify the most crucial questions to address in future research.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-248
JournalFossil Record 5, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 74
StatePublished - 2016


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