Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Preserved in amber

Quigley's Cabinet is featuring fossils in amber this morning. None of these are from my collection, though I do have a few small specimens. Clicking on the images will lead you to their provenance. Amber, as you may well be aware, is fossilized tree resin. Plants and insects are sometimes beautifully preserved when the resin flows over and encases them. Amber deposits are found throughout the world, but actually washes up on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Dominican Amber is also well-known. Amber may be up to 345 million years old. Copal is also fossilized tree resin, often found in Mesoamerica and Madagascar. Characterized as "young amber," copal may be 10,000 years old, but as it turns out, this distinction between amber and copal is disputed - fossilized resin is fossilized resin! And tree resin has captured some fine specimens...

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