10 Amber Fossils that Are Incredibly Preserved

by Binupriya Tomy11 months ago

6 A fossilized flea was found with the bacteria of bubonic plague clinging to it in an amber fossil found in the mines of the Dominican Republic. The amber dated back to 20 million years. This gives researchers an idea of how this plague has played a larger role in history than we know now.

fossilized flea with bubonic bacteria
Image Credit: George Poinar Jr/cnet.com

The discovery of fossilized fleas from millions of years ago might be able to give the researchers an idea about the Black Death. They concluded that the bacteria stuck in this amber fossil might have been an ancestor of flea that carried the bubonic plague. The characteristic study showed there are many similarities to the modern plague bacteria.

Shape, size, and characteristics are similar to the plague bacteria, but they are yet to confirm that this is the original ancestor of the Black Death bacteria. If the trail of this bacteria presence is followed, scientists believe they can uncover many other plagues that happened in history that would have been much worse than the Black Death and might have happened millions of years ago. The method of transmission is also similar to the modern-day bacteria. Scientists confirm that plagues were mostly an ancient disease and might have played a major role in earlier populations. (Source)

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7 A 100-million-years old fossil of a spider attacking a wasp was found from the Hukawng Valley in Myanmar. It is from somewhere around 97 to 110 million years ago. The amber is from the early Cretaceous period of a spider in its web attacking its prey. 

Fossilised spider and wasp
Image Credit: Oregon State University/wired.com

A fossilized moment of doom was captured from the Hukawng Valley in Myanmar, where a spider was found attacking an intruding wasp. The amber dates back to 97 to 110 million years ago. The amber is well preserved and it shows the spider moving towards the wasp. The plant resin fell over them and captured the moment. There are around 15 strands of unbroken, spider-woven silk captured in the amber. A fossilized spider attacking a wasp is probably a once-in-a-lifetime find.

It was a sensational fossil when it was discovered in 2012 making scientists around the world curious as both the spider and the wasp is both extinct species and the discovery will spread more light into enhancing the information that we have today on both. The insects from the Cretaceous period are found more frequently in the Myanmar region. (Source)

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8 Researchers found amber of a fly, a beetle, and a wasp that was so incredibly preserved that their true colors can be observed in perfect light. Many species lose their color in the process of fossilization. These well-preserved ones were found in a mining site in Myanmar. 

Beetle and wasp fossils in Mayanmar
Green wasp (Image to the left); an elongate bark-gnawing beetle with a metallic blue colouration. Image Credit: NIGPAS/SWNS via dailymail.co.uk , NIGPAS/SWNS via dailymail.co.uk

The insects preserved in these amber fossils are glowing even after 99-million-years. Researchers in the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology identified the true colors of ancient insects trapped in amber. It is considered a very rare find for paleontologists and the colors are remarkable. Many other fossils also come in color but it is usually not the true color, as the color tends to change during the fossilization process.

The specimens were carefully polished until the insect bodies were exposed. Blue, purple, and green colors are visible in the specimens. The hues are very notable and scientists believe that their iridescent traits might have evolved long before they were born. The oldest amber in this set is around 320 million years old. They are all found in Myanmar and are called “Burmese amber.” (Source)

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9 A perfectly preserved crab from 100-million-years ago was found in an amber fossil from northern Myanmar. The amber has incredibly preserved the soft tissues and bulgy eyes too. Judging by the size, it is a baby crab,  only five millimeters long. Researchers are finding clues to ancient land roving crab-like species by studying this fossil.

100 million years crab fossils
Image Credit: Javier Luque/ Lida Xing via indiatimes.com , Javier Luque/ Lida Xing via indiatimes.com

An incredibly preserved fossil is hard to find. The crab fossil from northern Myanmar is one of a kind, and the researchers mentioned that is a remarkable find. It is one of the only complete crab fossils ever discovered. Everything from the body parts to soft tissues was available for research from the fossil. Judging by the size of the fossil, it is mostly of a baby crab. as it is only five millimeters long.

The fossil remained in Longyin Amber Museum sitting idle for a long time until Javier Luque, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, heard about it. It was strange to find a crab in a fossilized plant resin, as strange as finding sea creatures in amber. The university studied the crab using micro-CT scans and reconstructed the ancient crab. This specimen is sure to bridge the gap between predictions and fossil records so far. (Source)

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10 Scientists have found an incredibly preserved new species of tardigrade in amber from 5 to 23 million years ago. There have only been three tardigrades, commonly known as water bears, discoveries before, and they say it is a once-in-a-generation find. 

 Tardigrade fossils
Image Credit: NJIT/Harvard via newatlas.com

An incredibly preserved 16-million-year-old amber fossil was found in the Dominican Republic that belongs to the Miocene period. It is a new type of tardigrade that researchers only have three more specimens of. They are water bears that resemble those alive today, but a much tinier version of it. They cannot be seen without a microscope. These creatures are known to survive radiation, extreme dehydration. and even freezing temperatures.

Tardigrade can survive without water for years, and they are capable of changing their bodies to adjust to the changing environmental conditions around them. Their bodies can produce proteins to help replace the water they are missing. Scientists found the tardigrade while studying some ants stuck in the amber. They found the creature only when they noticed the claws. This new find is much different than their early finds and has been classified as Paradoryphoribius chronocaribbeus. (Source)

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