Open every box

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Fascinating: “Unique Canine Tooth from ‘Peking Man’ Found in Swedish Museum Collection”

Swedish paleontologists were the first scientists to go to China in the early 20th century, and they carried out a series of expeditions in collaboration with Chinese colleagues. They found large numbers of fossils of dinosaurs and other vertebrates. The material was sent to Sweden and the well-known paleontologist Carl Wiman, who identified and described the fossils. But when the direction of research changed after Wiman's death, 40 cartons were left unopened and forgotten -- until know. In recent weeks, they have been opened by Per Ahlberg, his colleague Martin Kundrt, and Museum Director Jan Ove Ebbestad, who had drawn attention to the cartons in the storeroom at the Museum of Evolution.

You know, this is why open science is so important. When you have a small group of people working a collection, the information goes when they die. I hear about cases like this all the time. And we’re talking about hominins in relatively well curated collections. The number of unique specimens of other fossil organisms sitting in boxes must be enormous.

The more eyes you have on your collection, the more it is worth.