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Southeast Asia

Myanmar amber traps scientists in ethical dilemma over funding war

Fossils like those in 'Jurassic Park' draw scrutiny as Kachin conflict drags on

A prehistoric insect fossilized in amber maintains its shape. (Courtesy of the Myanmar Amber Museum)

YANGON -- Myanmar is a major producer of amber, a fossilized tree resin. Amber is valued for jewelry, and also serves as a sort of time capsule that provides scientific clues to prehistoric life with fossilized inclusions such as insects, birds and dinosaur footprints.

Meanwhile, the main amber-mining areas in the country are located in an internal conflict zone where an ethnic minority is fighting against the national armed forces, and the amber also comes with problems of human rights violations and smuggling.

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