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.
Of course there are some negative consequences of selling fossils in the commercial market, but they have been greatly exaggerated. The benefits of commercial fossil trade greatly outweigh the disadvantages.
First of all, the public is likely to have greater exposure to fossils as a result of commercial fossil trade, not less exposure. Commercial fossil hunting makes a lot of fossils available for purchase, and as a result, even low-level public institutions like public schools and libraries can now routinely buy interesting fossils and display them for the public.
As for the idea that scientists will lose access to really important fossils, that's not realistic either. Before anyone can put a value on a fossil, it needs to be scientifically identified, right? Well, the only people who can identify fossils, who can really tell what a given fossil is or isn't, are scientists, by performing detailed examinations and tests on the fossils themselves. So even if a fossil is destined to go to a private collector, it has to pass through the hands of scientific experts first. This way, the scientific community is not going to miss out on anything important that's out there.
Finally, whatever damage commercial fossil collectors sometimes do, if it weren't for them, many fossils would simply go undiscovered because there aren't that many fossil collecting operations that are run by universities and other scientific institutions. Isn't it better for science to at least have more fossils being found even if we don't have all the scientific data we'd like to have about their location and surroundings than it is to have many fossils go completely undiscovered?
Main points: Selling fossils is unfortunate for scientists and public.
Sub point 1: Public cannot see private collections.
Sub point 2: Scientist may lose access to some important fossils.
Sub point 3: Commercial fossil collectors often destroy evidences.
Attitude: They are exaggerated. (More benefits than disadvantages.)
Sub Point 1: Public can have greater exposure to fossils. (Lot for purchase, public schools can buy fossils.)
Sub Point 2: Not true that scientists will lose important fossils. (Fossils pass through experts before given to rich.)
Sub Point 3: Fossils may be undiscovered if no collector buy them. (Better have more fossils than never found any.)
The lecturer rejects the ideas presented in the reading passage about the problems involved with the business of commercial fossil trading. In her opinion, the benefits of this new enterprise outweigh its negative consequences.
The lecturer does not agree with the first point made in the reading, which is that private collectors keep their fossil collections away from the public. She contends that the commercial trading of fossils actually makes them available to a wider public, because any institution or person with a modest budget, such as private schools and libraries, can purchase them for study and exhibition.
The lecturer goes on to refute the claim in the reading that the fossil trading business prevents scientists and public museum from benefiting from fossil finds, as these parties cannot compete with wealthy private buyers to acquire important fossils for research purposes. On the contrary, she argues that scientists themselves are the first to evaluate any important fossil before they are sold into the commercial market, so the academic community does not miss any opportunity to study privately traded fossils.
Additionally, the lecturer challenges the final downside of fossil trading mentioned in the reading: she reminds us that the damages, if any, caused by private collectors in their field operations are more than offset by the efforts these individuals have made to increase the number of fossils available to the public that would otherwise remain undiscovered.
难度在于(A)…more than offset…(B)这个词组，offset是抵消的意思。more than这里并不表示主动句一样的数量上的A大于B，而是被动句一样的更深。翻译过来是，A被B在更大程度上抵消了。文中意思是开发损失被化石开发数量更大程度的抵消了。
The merit of your plan outweigh the stain.
2. Contend: 主张，争斗
The scientist contends the potential of this technology is too significant.
Newly found evidence refutes this historical stereotype.