Friday, February 06, 2009

'Its Loss Left Me Reeling and Altered the Course Of My Life Forever'

Must be something serious, huh? Why, of course.
A BRITISH graduate student was left "reeling" after his university threw out a bag of lizard excrement he had spent seven years collecting in the rainforests of the Philippines.

Daniel Bennett had collected 35kg of faeces of the rare butaan lizard during field work abroad, as part of his PhD research at Leeds University in northern England.

But he was devastated on returning from the Philippines to find that the bag, which was unmarked, had been thrown out with the rubbish in a clear-out of his laboratory.

"To some people it might have been just a bag of lizard s---," he told Times Higher Education, which ran the story under the headline "Oh crap, there goes my work".

"But to me it represented seven years of painstaking work searching the rainforest with a team of reformed poachers to find the faeces of one of the world's largest, rarest and most mysterious lizards.

"Its loss left me reeling and altered the course of my life forever."

The butaan is closely related to the komodo dragon, although it is extremely reclusive, so methods usually used to study the komodo are not suitable for the butaan.

The University has offered him £500 ($A1120) in compensation and an apology, after the student lodged an official complaint about the loss.

But Mr Bennett says this is not enough, and has vowed to "see them in court".

"Whether it was the largest collection of lizard s--- in the world is uncertain," he said.

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