Loss of important scientific data does not just happen with cultural artifacts like Mimbres pottery. It happens with fossils, too. GCAS member Kathryn McCarroll links to an article discussing the international trade in blood amber, a fossil-rich amber mined only in Myanmar. Paleobiologist George Poinar recently wrote that "...scientifically valuable fossils...end up in carvings and jewelry and [are] lost for future generations...."
The lucrative international trade of blood amber certainly disrupts scientific study of the unique fossil species found within it. Complicating matters even further, in 2017 the Myanmar military appropriated the country's profitable amber mines for their own exploitation while committing atrocities against ethnic minorities who live in some of the amber mining areas. Scientific publishers have reacted to this human-rights situation by banning publication of research involving blood amber, on ethical grounds. Unfortunately, this response may cause even more harm to scientific research as well as to the legal trade of blood amber.
Please read the whole article to ponder this very complicated issue.
/s/ webmaster [photo of amber field via CNN]