Gall gnats trapped in amber

Gall gnats trapped in amber

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Credit: GEORGE BERNARD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gnat in amber. A gall gnat (family Cecidomyiidae) trapped in amber. This specimen is estimated as being between 27 and 38 million years old. The wavy patterns in the amber to the left are thought to be due to the insect's wings struggling just before death. Amber is the hardened resin of a tree, usually a pine, released if the tree is wounded. Insects may get caught by the fluid resin, and entombed as the resin hardens. This is a 'fossilisation' process which preserves soft tissue, and may provide samples of prehistoric DNA and data on past climates. Magnification x8 at 35mm size.

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Keywords: amber, animal, animals, cecidomyiidae, fossil invertebrate, fossils, gnat, in amber, insect, insect in, invertebrates, palaeontology, paleontology

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