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Why the sale of a T. rex fossil could be a big loss for science
Dec. 2, 2022

Stuart Sumida, vice president of the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology and CSUSB professor of biology, was interviewed for an article about the sale of T. rex fossils, which have been auctioned off in the tens of millions of dollars to private buyers, and the loss they represent for scientific research.

Sumida says the organization strongly condemns the fossil sales “whether of large, dramatic specimens or less well-known creatures. ‘All fossils are data. Our position is that selling fossils is not scientific and it damages science.’”

Sumida is particularly appalled at statements made by auction houses that suggest the skeletons “have already been studied,” an attempt to reassure researchers that the data contained in that fossil won’t be lost, regardless of who purchases it. That’s deeply misleading, he says, because of the need for reproducibility, as well as the always-improving development of new analysis techniques. “When they make public statements like that, they are undermining not only paleontology, but the scientific process as well.”

And the high prices earned by Stan and Sue are helping to drive the market skyward, not only for other T. rex fossils but also for less famous species. “It creates this ripple effect that is incredibly damaging to science in general,” Sumida says. Sotheby’s, for example, auctioned off a Gorgosaurus, a T. rex relative, in July for $6.1 million. In May, a Deinonychus antirrhopus — the inspiration for Jurassic Park’s velociraptor — was sold by Christie’s for $12.4 million.

California held its first commission aimed at addressing rise in statewide hate crimes
CapRadio Sacramento
Dec. 1, 2022

Brian Levin, director of CSUSB’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, is one of the appointed commissioners to the California Commission on the State of Hate, which held its first meeting on Dec. 1. Topics discussed included a hate crimes hotline and combatting community fear of police.

Hate crimes in 2022 already eclipsed last year’s record
Crosstown (Los Angeles)

Dec. 1, 2022

Brian Levin, director of CSUSB’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, was quoted in an article reporting that the number of hate crimes tallied so far this year in Los Angeles has already surpassed any of the yearly totals since the city began making its data public more than a decade ago.

The figures represent the type of spike that often accompanies the months around an election when charged rhetoric can spill over into violence. Past years falling within the election cycle also saw a rise in hate crimes, according to Levin.

“In 2016, November was the worst month of the year,” said Levin. “In 2018, another election year, it was October.”

CSUSB professor comments on LA’s increase in hate crimes
KNX Radio Los Angeles
Dec. 2, 2022

Brian Levin, director of CSUSB’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, was interviewed for a segment on the increase in hate crimes in the city of Los Angeles. “Social media has played a big role and has to be looked at, but also the fact that we’ve had people who were kind of locked down from gathering (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) now rubbing elbows goes together,” he said.

These news clips and others may be viewed at “In the Headlines