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Stories in the Amber

  • By Peter Tyson
  • Posted 02.14.06
  • NOVA

Tens of millions of years ago, in a tropical forest on what today is the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, tiny insects and other fauna and flora became trapped in resin oozing from a single species of tree. Over the ensuing eons, some of that resin transformed into amber, preserving a representative sample of the primeval forest's denizens. While virtually all of those species are now extinct, close relatives living today provide behavioral and ecological clues that help tell stories in the amber. In this slide show, view a striking sample of biodiversity discovered in amber from the Dominican Republic, dated to between 15 and 40 million years ago.

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View captivating photos of well-preserved insects and other organisms that got trapped in resin millions of years ago.

This feature originally appeared on the site for the NOVA program Jewel of the Earth.

Sources

Note: All images and information were drawn from The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World, by George Poinar, Jr. and Roberta Poinar (Princeton University Press, 1999).

Credits

Photos

(all)
Courtesy George Poinar, Jr.

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    From the Arctic to the tropics, from Mexico to Myanmar—see the richest sources of fossil amber on Earth.

  • Fossils of the Cretaceous

    See the perfectly preserved fossils of feathered dinosaurs and other creatures that lived 130 million years ago.

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