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Flat-footed beetles in amber, collected 1992
Common Name: Flat-footed beetles
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Platypodidae
Dimensions: Centimetres: 6 (length), 3 (width), 2 (height)
Museum ID Number: 49824
Image Number: ROM2004_982_31
 

Description: Nature’s Flypaper
Amber provides a superb window into the past, often preserving insects and other delicate creatures otherwise rarely found as fossils. Amber is fossilized tree resin. Compounds in the resin are natural preservatives (ancient Egyptians used resins to preserve mummies). Plant fragments and animals such as insects, spiders, other small arthropods (joint-legged animals without a backbone), and even tiny frogs and lizards, got stuck in the sticky resin and were preserved. Larger animals are rarely found preserved in amber because they could free themselves, or were eaten by birds and other larger animals before they were completely engulfed by the flow of resin.

Amber preserves incredible detail, right down to the tiny hairs (setae) on an insect’s legs and scales on its wings. Occasionally, internal muscle tissues are preserved as well.

DNA has been extracted from muscle tissue of insects and spiders preserved in amber, but it would not be possible to replicate the animal from its DNA. Jurassic Park is still science fiction.

Collection Date: 1992 AD

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