Amber Reveals Bugs 95-Million Years Young

I quip in my title because the astonishing discovery of these bugs have revealed species in surprisingly pristine shape for the amount of time they’ve been suspended in amber resin. Amber is well-known as an excellent medium to capture life in still form and maintain its integrity for those who find the specimens centuries, millenia, or millions of years later. Photographs from the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences show how excellently preserved these particular specimens are. According to a Science feature:

Newly discovered pieces of amber have given scientists a peek into the Africa of 95 million years ago, when flowering plants blossomed across Earth and the animal world scrambled to adapt.

Suspended in the stream of time were ancestors of modern spiders, wasps and ferns, but the prize is a wingless ant (above) that challenges current notions about the origins of that globe-spanning insect family.

“Most specimens represent a unique fossil record of their group from Africa, and some are among the oldest records in the world,” wrote researchers in a paper April 5 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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