Thanks for visiting the World of Amber!
Life in Amber
Modern insects are not likely inclusions in amber. It has been reported that some amber is bored and insects or small animals "introduced"; then the hole is filled with some modern resin of the same color. Most of the insects embalmed in amber are extinct species. It the embalmed inclusion in the resin is from an extant species, or one that may be found in nature, the resin is most likely copal and not amber.
Inclusions in amber can be both organic and inorganic. Sulfur and pyrite (fool's gold) are examples of inorganic inclusions. Black inclusions can be decayed botanical debris, carbonized wood, cones, needles, and bark. Over a thousand species of insects and crustacea have been found and when amber is in contact with the sea, barnacles and other skeletons of colonial crustaceans will cover the surface. (Warning: The examples below are mostly external links, therefore you need to hit the back button each time to return to this page.) Entombed
do attract much attention, but most of the trapped remains are flies (account for 54% of the insects trapped). Different species embalmed in amber include:
fleas. One Dominican amber source reported finding a butterfly with a 5 inch wing spread; this is both a large and unusual find, most butterfly specimens are no more than a 2 inch wing spread. Inclusions in Dominican amber are numerous, 1 inclusion to every 100 pieces; Baltic amber contains approximately 1 inclusion to every 1000 pieces.
Species of spore-producing (gynmosperms) and seed-producing flowering plants (angiosperms) have been identified in amber. Gymnosperm enclosures are fir, cypress, juniper, pine, spruce and Arbor vitae. Angiosperms are represented by
(as many as 15 different kinds of oak), beech, maple, chestnut, magnolia, and cinnamon. Remains of palms, ferns, mosses, and flowering herbaceous plants also formed a ground cover in the ancient forests. Leaf imprints with detailed vein and cell structures are preserved, along with buds and blossoms. Even
and mammal hair may be preserved in amber.
The discoidal fissures or sun spangles found in amber are believed to be caused by droplets of trapped
and air, which form the flattened to circular shapes after heating the amber. These sun spangles were produced from the many air bubbles. When the sun spangles have brown edges, the amber was probably "clarified." Clarified amber occurs when the rough material is immersed in oil (rapeseed preferred) and slowly heated. The natural air bubbles give amber the cloudy appearance and clarifying fills these air spaces with oil. The composition of air bubbles has been studied by
Using a gas quadrupole mass spectrometer, he has documented that 67 million years ago, the Earth's atmosphere contained 35 percent oxygen compared with 21 percent today.
Find out more at these sites for New Jersey amber finds:
Snakefly.tripod.com/nj-amber.htm, New Jersey amber
...and other general sites of interest are:
- http://diglib1.amnh.org/novitates/i0003-0082-296-01-0001.pdf, A New Interpretation of the Oldest Fossil Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae), Michael S. Engel,
American Museum Novitates 3296, 1-11. NY: American Museum of Natural History.
- home.fuse.net/paleopark/amber3.htm, Burmite, Burmese Cretaceous Amber
- www.amberabg.com, Amber - Stone Live
- www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/paleo/fossils/amber.html, Fossils Window to the Past Amber
- www.espd.com/amber/, The Amber Room
- www.150.si.edu/150trav/discover/fossil.htm, Suspended in Time
- www.amberworld.com/, Insects in Amber
- Snakefly.tripod.com/dr-amber.htm, Dominican Republic Amber
- www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Geology/webdogs/amber/thumbs/lambthumbs.html, Dave Lamb's Amber
- www.amber-ambre-inclusions.info/INGLESE.htm, Fossil Inclusions in Baltic Amber
- www.ambergallery.lt/english/muziejus-inkliuzai.htm, Entrapped by Time
- www.ship.edu/~gspaul/sems.html, Scanning Electron Micrographs
- www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/8147/index.html, Fossil Collections of the World
water are portions of an external link to The Natural History of Amber and the Three Dot Studio by Mark R. Meyer
sites are examples from Andrzej Gorski's Amber - Stone Live.
- cockroach link is from Alfred Correya's Baltic Amber Collection from the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow
- fossil feather in amber and Suspended in Time are both from the Smithsonian's Imprints of the Past
- damselfly is found within
- Butterfly is from the American Natural History Museum.
- mushrooms is a page from Doug Lundberg's Amber, A View of the Past
- Mammal bones preserved in amber, a CNN Sci-Tech story from 4/11/1996
- Landis is a part a USGS publication
- A formicine in New Jersey Cretaceous amber (Hymenoptra:Formicidae) and early evolution of the ants by D. Grimaldi and D. Agosti (published by PNAS Online, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA)
- Burmite, Burmese Cretaceous Amber, by Ron Buckley, is found at http://home.fuse.net/paleopark/amber3.htm.
- Fossils Window to the Past Amber, which is a part of Fossils Window to the Past, from University of California at Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology.
- The Amber Room is by Steve Kurth
- Dominican Republic Amber and New Jersey amber, are both from Yale Goldman's Dead Bug in Amber Club
- The Amber Room, is an excellent site detailing Dominican Republic Amber, including slides and video of microscopic views of amber and its inclusions.
- Insects in Amber by Jens von Holt and his Amber World
- Dave Lamb's collection is found in Tammi Johnson's
Amber: Arboreal Gold
- Fossil Collections of the World by Simon Biggs is an enormous index to web fossil sites
- Scanning Electron Micrographs of insects by Dr. Greg Paulson
- Fossil Inclusions in Baltic Amber was created by Gianfranco Rocchini.
- Entrapped by Time is from
the Mizgiriai family, Gintaro Galerija Muziejus.
Return to the Amber
copyright 1996-2004 ©
Susan Ward Aber All rights reserved.