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Paleontological resources require similar protections to archaeological resources because the threat of looting, improper excavation, and market demand are analogous. Paleontological resources are responsible for informing much of scientists’ understanding of evolution and the history of the planet, just as cultural property helps to inform the evolution of humanity and culture. Once either object is removed from its original context, there is an immediate and invaluable loss of information that could have illuminated important information about the past. When either is removed from the environment in which they were created, a nonrenewable link to the past is lost.

Existing laws are too limited to provide sufficient protection relative to the importance of paleontological resources. Recent high-profile examples of the public sale of dinosaur remains illustrate the threat to these resources if their sale is not restricted. The proposed legislative changes in this Article attempt to address these issues by expanding state level protection of fossils being excavated on private land and giving museums a financial advantage when purchasing fossils. There is an urgent need for these regulations as the prices of dinosaurs at auction skyrocket and never-before-seen fossils erode in the desert.



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