Amber research, tray full of opaque amber

Amber research, tray full of opaque amber

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This image is part of the feature 21st Century Machine Shines Light Onto A Fossil World

Credit: PASCAL GOETGHELUCK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Amber research. Tray containing opaque amber (fossilised resin from prehistoric conifer trees) that will undergo X-ray imaging at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. This particle accelerator can generate an X-ray beam one thousand billion times more powerful than a hospital X-ray. The X-rays are fired at multiple angles around the sample to generate virtual 'slices' that can reveal inclusions (remains of trapped insects or plants). These are reconstructed into 3D computer models that can be animated. In 2008 this technique has revealed over 350 extinct fossil animals and plants, such as wasps, flies, ants and spiders.

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