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  • Does the Lauer Foundation allow scientific researchers to study specimens in the Foundation Collection?
    Yes. We absolutely invite researchers to study and publish on specimens in the Foundation collection. In some instances, we reach out directly to experts and invite them to work on specimens.
  • As a researcher, can I publish on specimens in the Foundation collection?
    We understand the concern. The Foundation believes it meets the requirements for publication. We have had multiple SVP posters and abstracts accepted as well as our first vertebrate publication: Frederik Spindler, René Lauer, Helmut Tischlinger, and Matthias Mäuser, (2021), The integument of pelagic crocodylomorphs (Thalattosuchia: Metriorhynchidae). This was published in Palaeontologia Electronica. We recently had a major paper on a new Pterosaur from Mühlheim, Germany that received a lot of press. David W.E. Hone, René Lauer, Bruce Lauer, and Frederik Spindler, (2023), Petrodactyle wellnhoferi gen. et sp. nov.: A new and large ctenochasmatid pterosaur from the Late Jurassic of Germany. Several invertebrate specimens were published. Rodney M. Feldmann, Carrie E. Schweitzer et al., (2016), Additions to the morphology of Munidopsidae (Decopoda: Anomura) and Goniodromitidae (Decopoda: Brachyura) from the Jurassic Solnhofen-tyoe lagerstätten, Germany. We have had two other papers published in late 2022 and early 2023. You can view a full list of our publications.
  • What is the difference between the Foundation and a Museum?
    The legal structure of the Foundation and a Museum is essentially the same. Exceptions to this would be the true Public Museums that are owned by either the Federal or local government. The Foundation is open to researchers and the collections are available for study. Both the Foundation and Museums provide for permanent access to the collections. The main difference is that the Foundation is not open to the general public and does not have its own permanent exhibits. The Foundation will partner with museums for exhibitions of Foundation specimens. An example is our “Snapshot in Time” exhibit at the Burpee Museum and a recent collaboration with the Jura Museum in Eichstätt, Germany.
  • What is the legal structure of the Foundation?
    The Foundation is a corporate entity with a Board of Directors that oversees its activities. The Foundation is an operating not-for-profit organization under the Internal Revenue Code section 501 (c) (3). Read more about the Foundation's legal structure here.
  • Is the Foundation a not-for-profit organization?
    Yes, the Foundation is registered as an operating not-for-profit entity under US Internal Revenue Code section 501 (c) (3).
  • Do the Lauer's own the collection?
    No, the Lauer's do not own the collection. The collection is owned by the Foundation.
  • What are the major concentrations of the Foundation Collection?
    The Foundation collection focuses on three main areas: The Jurassic Solnhofen Germany biota, the Pennsylvanian Mazon Creek biota of northern Illinois and shark evolution. The Foundation will stray from these areas of focus when scientifically important material becomes available and a researcher has agreed to work on the specimen.
  • Have any scientific papers been published citing a specimen in the Foundation Collection?
    Yes. We have provided a full list of publications.
  • Is there an oversight Board for the Foundation?
    Yes, the Foundation has a Board of Directors and officers. There are currently three Directors. You can read more about the legal structure of the Foundation here.
  • Is there a succession plan for the Foundation Directors?
    Yes. The Board has adopted a succession plan which is detailed in the Lauer Foundation Legal Documents section. The plan dictates the steps to be taken in the event the current Board is incapacitated. The Plan also calls for the designation of a default Successor Curator.
  • Has the Foundation entered into Memorandums of Understanding on any projects? With Whom?
    Yes. The Foundation entered into a Memorandum of Understanding relating to the Triassic Microfossil site in Northeast New Mexico. The parties to the MOU are: The Lauer Foundation, Appalachian State University, Virginia Tech University and The Natural History Museum UK.
  • What happens if the Foundation closes its doors?
    The Foundation By Laws, Succession Plan and Successor Curator Plan provides the direction if the Board decides to close the Foundation. The collection will end up in a Public Depository. Read our full legal structure here.
  • How has the Foundation provided for permanent access to specimens and facilitated access in perpetuity?
    The Foundation provides professional curation of the collection. All specimens are numbered and provenance data stored in the Specify Collection Management System. The Foundation Succession Plan and Successor Curator provides assurances of access in perpetuity.
  • Are the specimens in the Foundation Collection acquired legally?
    Yes, the Foundation follows museum standards in the acquisition of specimens.
  • Do the specimens in the Foundation Collection have proper provenance data?
    The Foundation makes every effort to obtain all the provenance data possible for each specimen. This is cataloged using the Specify Collection Management System.
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