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Article: The Unique Role of the Curator in Palaeontology

Special Papers in Palaeontology - No. 22 - Cover Image
Publication: Special Papers in Palaeontology
Number: 22
Thematic Volume: Curration of Palaeontology Collections
Edited By: M. G. Bassett
Publication Date: 1979
Page(s): 7 16
Authored By: Charles D. Waterston
Addition Information

How to Cite

WATERSTON, C.D. 1979. The Unique Role of the Curator in Palaeontology IN BASSET, M.G. (ed.) Curration of Palaeontology Collections. Special Papers in Palaeontology, 22, 7-16.

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The Palaeontological Association (Free Access)


Official reports suggest that universities in Britain no longer regard the preservation of their museum collections as an urgent priority. Curators should no longer assume that the importance of their contribution is understood by the scientific community, and it is suggested that palaeontological curators should articulate clearly what is the centrality of the fossil collections in their care to the future advance of palaeontology. It is suggested that although the paradigms of palaeontology and the wider world of thought change, the curator's essential function, to make fossils available for direct study, has remained constant. Because palaeontology advances through the interplay of theory and re-examination of data in what may well be a predictable pattern, fossil collections will necessarily continue to have an important role in the palaeontology of the future, and the curator's unique role of acquiring and preserving these collections is therefore central to the future advance of the science.

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