Discovery of dinosaur remains is always fascinating news. But are there still enough resources left in the world to make dinosaur amber trade a lucrative business?
On the outskirts of Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state in Myanmar, traders, amber hunters and paleontologists can be found examining pieces of amber.
For some lucky ones, finding the right buyer could earn them a whopping US$100,000 (RM400,000).
“Even if it just contains an ant or a mosquito – every piece is interesting,” says Myo Swe, an amber trader.
Amber is historically marked as a jewellery piece worn by nobility from China to as far as ancient Greece.
Some of the amber found in Kachin can be dated to the Cretaceous Period which is around 100 million years ago.
According to Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences in Beijing, there are amber deposits found all over the world but, for palaeontology, the mines of Kachin are “irreplaceable”.
“The amber mining area in Kachin is the only Cretaceous period amber mining site in the world that is still engaged in commercial mining,” he says.
“There’s no better place than Myanmar.”
Lida shot to fame among fellow palaeontologists in 2015 when he brought back part of a feathered dinosaur tail to China from Myanmar that dated back some 99 million years.
As there are many hunters looking to hit a jackpot, Lida was met with dissapointment as his return to find the source was made impossible.
“They had probably already sold or smashed it. This dinosaur might have even been a complete one with a head,” Lida says.