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Actually Kyrgyzstan is one of the big success stories in Central Asia. It
would probably be far easier than ever before.
Don't bet on it. The _Longisquama_ fossils were recovered from Osh Province
in the southwestern tip of the Kyrgyz Republic (nee Kyrgyzstan). Although
the Kyrgyz Republic as a whole is a lot more stable than some of its
neighboring former Soviet Republics, the same cannot be said for its
southwestern portion. This part of the Kyrgyz Republic borders both
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and Islamic rebels from the former have been
using it to gain entry into the latter, so they can stir up trouble. Last
year four Japanese geologists were taken hostage (they were later released).
I can't see too many paleontologists rushing into this remote part of
Central Asia any time soon.
A shame. Reading Michael Novacek's _Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs_ (1996)
really brought home to me just how important political considerations are in
organizing a paleo expedition. One of the reasons the AMNH is trying to
send an expedition to Mongolia *every* season is that they want to excavate
as much as possible in case the Mongolian economy (and with it the entire
political system of the country) goes belly-up, shutting the window of
opportunity once gain. Look at the Tendaguru Beds. Although there's been a
bit of poking around since colonial times, these beds are effectively
off-limits due to the political situation in Tanzania.
As I said: a shame.
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