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Current Affairs

Why Dinosaur fossils are in demand?

Date: 03 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

In 2020, an exhibit at a Christie’s auction fetched $31.8 million for well-preserved skeleton of a dinosaur, which was a record-breaking feat.

 

Background

The proceeds from the sale of Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton period far exceeded the high estimate of $8 million, and smashed the previous record for a dinosaur fossil at a Sotheby’s auction.

 

Details

  • Palaeontologists have raised concerns that the commercial sale of dinosaur fossils and escalating prices would encourage people to sell well-preserved fossils in the open market rather than leaving them for palaeontologists to study.

  • They also fear that most of the good fossils will probably enter private collections, as universities and museums may not be able to match the high prices they offer.

  • In the US, fossil bones found on federal land are public property, and can be collected only by researchers with permits.

  • These go to public trust and repositories, including accredited museums.  Fossils discovered on private land, however, can be bought and sold.

  • In Canada, Mongolia, China, and Argentina, fossils can’t be exported, even though cases of black marketing have come to light.

  • In India, too, palaeontologists fear that the country’s rich fossil heritage is under threat in the absence of stringent laws and preservation efforts.

 

Popularity of dinosaur fossils

  • The fact that Christie’s auctioned Stan in a sale of contemporary art rather than a natural history auction is being seen as an indicator of the collector base of the fossils.

  • While Hollywood actors, including Nicolas Cage, Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio, are known to buy dinosaur fossils, there is also a broad collector base in countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

 

Fossils

A fossil is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once-living thing from a past geological age. Examples include bones, shells, exoskeletons, stone imprints of animals or microbes, objects preserved in amber, hair, petrified wood, oil, coal, and DNA remnants.