Fossil sales are big business. Major auction houses such as Sotheby's and Bonhams & Butterfields proudly feature fossils, including vertebrate fossils, in their catalogues. On online auction sites such as eBay, fossil dealers offer museum-quality specimens for private ownership at prices ranging from around a dollar to several thousands of dollars. For example, searches conducted on eBay during the writing of this manuscript, using the key words “dinosaur fossil,” gave results consistently showing around 200 items; items priced in U.S. dollars fetched a cumulative price tag consistently in excess of $21,000. Clearly, there's money to be made in selling vertebrate...

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