Oklahoma’s HB1787 is primarily aimed at preventing the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horn. Like New York and New Jersey they also hope to prevent the sale of mammoth ivory – the tusks of an animal that has not roamed the earth for at least four thousand years. Mammoth ivory is discernible by the Schreger Lines when cut cross-wise as well as by other means (see Robert Weisblut‘s site for more information) as noted in the US Fish and Wildlife’s guide.
It’s easy to entertain conspiracy theories where the government or some other entity with deep pockets and some geeks who are good with genomics are planning on bringing these furry beasts back, especially with the amount of snow we’ve been getting in the northeast, but the real issue is the livelihood of craftspeople, artisans and others who use this finite supply of material to ply their trade. Knifemakers, jewelers, carvers and others all use this material which reaches the surface annually thanks to frost heaves.
So what do we do – have Alaskans and Canadians gather this material and burn it, possibly powder it and use it for fertilizer? I hear there are even older fossils out there, buried in the earth in sedimentary rock – perhaps we should make trilobite fossils illegal as well.