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Reading Part:
Private collectors have been selling and buying fossils, the petrified remains of ancient organisms, ever since the eighteenth century. In recent years, however, the sale of fossils, particularly of dinosaurs and other large vertebrates, has grown into a big business. Rare and important fossils are now being sold to private ownership for millions of dollars. This is an unfortunate development for both scientists and the general public.

The public suffers because fossils that would otherwise be donated to museums where everyone can see them are sold to private collectors who do not allow the public to view their collections. Making it harder for the public to see fossils can lead to a decline in public interest in fossils, which would be a pity.

More importantly, scientists are likely to lose access to some of the most important fossils and thereby miss out on potentially crucial discoveries about extinct life forms. Wealthy fossil buyers with a desire to own the rarest and most important fossils can spend virtually limitless amounts of money to acquire them. Scientists and the museums and universities they work for often cannot compete successfully for fossils against millionaire fossil buyers.

Moreover, commercial fossil collectors often destroy valuable scientific evidence associated with the fossils they unearth. Most commercial fossil collectors are untrained or uninterested in carrying out the careful field work and documentation that reveal the most about animal life in the past. For example, scientists have learned about the biology of nest-building dinosaurs called oviraptors by carefully observing the exact position of oviraptor fossils in the ground and the presence of other fossils in the immediate surroundings. Commercial fossil collectors typically pay no attention to how fossils lie in the ground or to the smaller fossils that may surround bigger ones.

中文翻译:
私人化石收藏家们从十八世纪就开始涉足化石买卖。所谓化石是指那些古代有机体的石化物。然而最近几年,化石买卖,尤其是恐龙和其他大型脊椎动物的化石的买卖变得繁荣起来了。稀有而重要的化石现在以百万计的价格在私人搜藏家之间流通。这种现象无论对于科学家还是对于公众来说,都不是一件好事情。
化石不在捐赠给博物馆而是由私人收藏家持有,而不是像过去那样捐赠给博物馆。私人收藏家不会让公众看他的藏品,而博物馆里的展品却是人人有机会看到的。这样对于公众来说是受损的。接触化石的机会变少会让大众失去对化石的兴趣的,而这一点显然是令人遗憾的。
更重要的是,科学家将错失很多研究珍贵化石的机会,进而可能同一些关于灭绝生物的重大发现失之交臂。富有的化石购买者因为对稀有而重要化石的强烈渴望,将会不计成本地想得到这些化石。科学家和他们所服务的博物馆和大学都无力同那些身价百万的化石购买者竞争,也只能坐视失去化石。
而且,商业化石收藏家常常会破坏他们挖掘出的化石中有科学价值的部分。多数商业化石收藏家常常没有接受过专业的训练,同时对谨慎研究记录化石没有兴趣。而这些研究和记录可以揭示过去生活在地球上的生命最重要的信息。科学家就是通过对筑巢的偷蛋龙的研究就是这种方法:通过对偷蛋龙化石的埋在地下的精确位置以及邻近的其他化石的状态来获知其生物特性的。私人化石搜藏家万网不关注化石埋藏的唯一以及大型化石边上那些小型的化石。
Listening Part:
Question:
Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they cast doubt on specific points made in the reading passage.
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