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Found 131 results

  1. Stuff of Nightmares

    So a little while back I had the fun of coming into a bunch of Baltic amber with inclusions. I pretty much just looked at the bag of pieces and said, "Wow, that's pretty neat!" Then I promptly set them down on one of my display cases ...and proceeded to forget almost entirely about their existence. Tonight my son and I decided to bust out our cheap-o USB microscope to see just what kind of inclusions we had. The photo quality is abysmal to say the least, but one series of photos we took contains what I am entirely convinced is not only the stuff of nightmares, but also must be nothing other than the larval form of Cthulhu. I am posting this in the ID section not because I expect someone to be able to ID it, but rather in the off chance that someone might just happen to know what it is. ID or not, I will go to sleep at night knowing that this critter is locked safely away in amber, and is thus not capable of feasting on my fluids while I slumber.
  2. Feather in amber from Burma

    These are feathers in amber from Burma what feathers could they belong too primeval bird, dinosaurs or something else ?
  3. ~20% of an insect in Indonesian amber

    Hello everyone. My main area of focus is gems, but sometimes I run into fossil material, and this was one I was hoping I could ask about. I bought a sack of dark Indonesian amber a couple of years back, and after slicing and polishing a few I came across this. It appears to be part of an insect, though badly beat up. I'd have concluded it was just suggestively-shaped vegetable matter if it weren't for the 'leg', but it looks fairly leggy to me? I know this is a lot to ask from a tiny bit of data, but is it possible this is an insect, or am I reading too much into a bit of twig? And if an insect, can they be identified from fingerprints? Unfortunately this material rarely comes with a very specific locale attached. If I remember right Indonesian amber in general is miocene with a wide range of ages. Field of view ~4mm Field of view ~2mm I'd have preferred oblique lighting but the green fluorescence of the amber hides the inclusions.
  4. Fossil in amber baltic

    Hi everyone, what animal is it? It looks like a gecko, 2mm long. this is the best picture
  5. Skin Scale of Leaf?

    This amber came in a lot from Latvia. I noticed two pieces of something, fairly large in a 1.5cm x 0.5 cm piece of amber. My pics are a bit out of focus but you can see a pigment pattern of something like skin, scale or perhaps it is a leaf with a brown/pink and black pattern on it. I think it is the skin or scale of some type of creature. What do you think? Can anyone help? Jimmy
  6. Green Leaf, Red Pollen in Amber?

    Hi Its Jimmy Can anyone tell me is it possible for red pollen and green leaves to be preserved in amber? Here are the pics I took today. Any comments are much appreciated. I guess I am wondering if it still has color perhaps it still could have DNA? Jimmy
  7. The amber from Myanmar is full of amazing fossils https://phys.org/news/2018-02-remarkable-spider-tail-amber-million.html
  8. Coty/Garrouste/Nel et al: Ant/Termite syninclusion NICE
  9. Hello Dear Friends, I just want to show how small treasures in super small Baltic ambers we can find. Polyxenidae, 3.5mm in very good condition. Ultra small amber but specimen inside is perfect ! Amber size is crazy small 6mm / 6mm / 4mm. I have huge problem with uploading pictures. Any idea why ? Happy new year to all ! Artur
  10. ID required for fossilized mineral (possibly amber)

    This fossil is not organic unlike my other fossils. But I believe it to be a Amber piece. Some people in my other posts thought it might be some other material, so what do you think? Since I firmly believe that this is Amber.
  11. Coprolite in burmite?

    Hi Is this mammal coprolite ?
  12. snail in burmite?

    Hi Is this snail? I bid him for 6,99 $ with the schipped
  13. Dracula ticks in amber tell ancient blood-sucking tale By Helen Briggs, BBC News, December 12, 2017 http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42327784 Feather-Gripping Tick Trapped in Amber Dined on Dinos By Mindy Weisberger, December 12, 2017 https://www.livescience.com/61175-tick-in-amber-dined-on-dinos.html Enrique Peñalver, Antonio Arillo, Xavier Delclòs, David Peris, David A. Grimaldi, Scott R. Anderson, Paul C. Nascimbene, and Ricardo Pérez-de la Fuente, 2017 Parasitised feathered dinosaurs as revealed by Cretaceous amber assemblages Nature Communications 8, Article number: 1924 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01550-z https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01550-z Dr Ricardo Pérez-de la Fuente http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/research/ricardo_perez_de_la_fuente.htm Yours, Paul H.
  14. I recently obtained this piece of amber, which was described as being from Myanmar, and therefore of cretaceous age. I got it very cheaply, I'd say (from a well known auction site), and this led another collector to rather rudely assert that it was fake. I have no reason to assume that it is fake, but at the same time, I'm having trouble proving that it's authentic. When I poke it with a hot needle, the needle makes an impression but doesn't slice straight through it. Dark grey smoke rose from it, which didn't smell of plastic. When I rub it vigorously with a soft cloth, it gives off a mild resinous aroma, but doesn't get sticky. It floats in salty water, in the same way as my Dominican amber does (my Baltic amber slowly sank, but I suspect I didn't have enough salt in the water). I haven't been able to get it to hold a static charge, but then I can't with any of my amber, so I must be doing that all wrong. I wouldn't normally post most of these pictures, because all but one qualify as photographic failures, but I've since re-polished the surfaces for future photography (my spare-room studio being out of action at present). Note a seed (?) of some kind just above the antenna, near the top, and some kind of larva or something to the left of the millipede. That looks like a tiny beetle on the left hand side of this one. General inclusions, including bubbles and an insect 'riding' on one, centre-right. One of the pseudoscorpions. There are various other inclusions too, including another pseudoscorpion and one tiny spider. I don't see any way in which this is an out-and-out fake (e.g. plastic). So that leaves the possibility that it's authentic, or copal, or that it's amber with the insects inserted afterwards. I'm very doubtful of the later, because they are randomly placed in the amber and I don't see any signs of tampering. That would seem like a lot of effort for something sold for £35/$45. It doesn't seem to have any of those little oak hair things that you get in Baltic amber. Not sure whether cretaceous amber, or copal, have those or not. I'd welcome any thoughts on this. Thanks.
  15. From the album MY FOSSIL Collection - Dpaul7

    Burmese Amber, Fossil Insect Inclusion, Caddisfly group and a Spider Kachin State, Burma Cretaceous - Cenomanian Age 98.79 ± 0.62 Million Years ago Burmese amber — Cretaceous biota fossilized in prehistoric amber that's found within present day Myanmar (Burma) of Southeast Asia. The caddisflies, or order Trichoptera, are a group of insects with aquatic larvae and terrestrial adults. There are approximately 14,500 described species, most of which can be divided into the suborders Integripalpia and Annulipalpia on the basis of the adult mouthparts. Integripalpian larvae construct a portable casing to protect themselves as they move around looking for food, while Annulipalpian larvae make themselves a fixed retreat in which they remain, waiting for food to come to them. Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other orders of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exceptions of air and sea colonization. As of November 2015, at least 45,700 spider species, and 113 families have been recorded by taxonomists. Although the fossil record of spiders is considered poor, almost 1000 species have been described from fossils. Because spiders' bodies are quite soft, the vast majority of fossil spiders have been found preserved in amber. The oldest known amber that contains fossil arthropods dates from 130 million years ago in the Early Cretaceous period. In addition to preserving spiders' anatomy in very fine detail, pieces of amber show spiders mating, killing prey, producing silk and possibly caring for their young. In a few cases, amber has preserved spiders' egg sacs and webs, occasionally with prey attached; the oldest fossil web found so far is 100 million years old. Earlier spider fossils come from a few lagerstätten, places where conditions were exceptionally suited to preserving fairly soft tissues. Split taxonomy: Kingdom: Animalia/Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda/Arthropoda Class: Insecta/Arachnida Order: Trichoptera/Araneae
  16. From the album MY FOSSIL Collection - Dpaul7

    Burmese Amber, Fossil Insect Inclusion, Caddisfly group and a Spider Kachin State, Burma Cretaceous - Cenomanian Age 98.79 ± 0.62 Million Years ago Burmese amber — Cretaceous biota fossilized in prehistoric amber that's found within present day Myanmar (Burma) of Southeast Asia. The caddisflies, or order Trichoptera, are a group of insects with aquatic larvae and terrestrial adults. There are approximately 14,500 described species, most of which can be divided into the suborders Integripalpia and Annulipalpia on the basis of the adult mouthparts. Integripalpian larvae construct a portable casing to protect themselves as they move around looking for food, while Annulipalpian larvae make themselves a fixed retreat in which they remain, waiting for food to come to them. Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other orders of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exceptions of air and sea colonization. As of November 2015, at least 45,700 spider species, and 113 families have been recorded by taxonomists. Although the fossil record of spiders is considered poor, almost 1000 species have been described from fossils. Because spiders' bodies are quite soft, the vast majority of fossil spiders have been found preserved in amber. The oldest known amber that contains fossil arthropods dates from 130 million years ago in the Early Cretaceous period. In addition to preserving spiders' anatomy in very fine detail, pieces of amber show spiders mating, killing prey, producing silk and possibly caring for their young. In a few cases, amber has preserved spiders' egg sacs and webs, occasionally with prey attached; the oldest fossil web found so far is 100 million years old. Earlier spider fossils come from a few lagerstätten, places where conditions were exceptionally suited to preserving fairly soft tissues. Split taxonomy: Kingdom: Animalia/Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda/Arthropoda Class: Insecta/Arachnida Order: Trichoptera/Araneae
  17. From the album MY FOSSIL Collection - Dpaul7

    Burmese Amber, Fossil Insect Inclusion, Caddisfly group and a Spider Kachin State, Burma Cretaceous - Cenomanian Age 98.79 ± 0.62 Million Years ago Burmese amber — Cretaceous biota fossilized in prehistoric amber that's found within present day Myanmar (Burma) of Southeast Asia. The caddisflies, or order Trichoptera, are a group of insects with aquatic larvae and terrestrial adults. There are approximately 14,500 described species, most of which can be divided into the suborders Integripalpia and Annulipalpia on the basis of the adult mouthparts. Integripalpian larvae construct a portable casing to protect themselves as they move around looking for food, while Annulipalpian larvae make themselves a fixed retreat in which they remain, waiting for food to come to them. Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other orders of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exceptions of air and sea colonization. As of November 2015, at least 45,700 spider species, and 113 families have been recorded by taxonomists. Although the fossil record of spiders is considered poor, almost 1000 species have been described from fossils. Because spiders' bodies are quite soft, the vast majority of fossil spiders have been found preserved in amber. The oldest known amber that contains fossil arthropods dates from 130 million years ago in the Early Cretaceous period. In addition to preserving spiders' anatomy in very fine detail, pieces of amber show spiders mating, killing prey, producing silk and possibly caring for their young. In a few cases, amber has preserved spiders' egg sacs and webs, occasionally with prey attached; the oldest fossil web found so far is 100 million years old. Earlier spider fossils come from a few lagerstätten, places where conditions were exceptionally suited to preserving fairly soft tissues. Split taxonomy: Kingdom: Animalia/Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda/Arthropoda Class: Insecta/Arachnida Order: Trichoptera/Araneae
  18. Amber Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph 1.jpg

    From the album MY FOSSIL Collection - Dpaul7

    Amber Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph Dominican Republic Oligocene to Miocene - about 25 million years old Dominican Amber Gemstone, 8.80 ct, Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph. Psocoptera are an order of insects that are commonly known as booklice, barklice or barkflies. They first appeared in the Permian period, 295–248 million years ago. They are often regarded as the most primitive of the hemipteroids. Their name originates from the Greek word psokhos meaning gnawed or rubbed and ptera meaning wings. There are more than 5,500 species in 41 families in three suborders. Many of these species have only been described in recent years. In the 2000s, morphological and molecular evidence has shown that the parasitic lice (Phthiraptera) evolved from within the psocopteran suborder Troctomorpha. In modern systematics, Psocoptera and Phthiraptera are therefore treated together in the order Psocodea. Kingdom: Animalia Class: Insecta Order: Psocoptera
  19. Amber Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph 1.jpg

    From the album MY FOSSIL Collection - Dpaul7

    Amber Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph Dominican Republic Oligocene to Miocene - about 25 million years old Dominican Amber Gemstone, 8.80 ct, Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph. Psocoptera are an order of insects that are commonly known as booklice, barklice or barkflies. They first appeared in the Permian period, 295–248 million years ago. They are often regarded as the most primitive of the hemipteroids. Their name originates from the Greek word psokhos meaning gnawed or rubbed and ptera meaning wings. There are more than 5,500 species in 41 families in three suborders. Many of these species have only been described in recent years. In the 2000s, morphological and molecular evidence has shown that the parasitic lice (Phthiraptera) evolved from within the psocopteran suborder Troctomorpha. In modern systematics, Psocoptera and Phthiraptera are therefore treated together in the order Psocodea. Kingdom: Animalia Class: Insecta Order: Psocoptera
  20. Amber Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph 1.jpg

    From the album MY FOSSIL Collection - Dpaul7

    Amber Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph Dominican Republic Oligocene to Miocene - about 25 million years old Dominican Amber Gemstone, 8.80 ct, Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph. Psocoptera are an order of insects that are commonly known as booklice, barklice or barkflies. They first appeared in the Permian period, 295–248 million years ago. They are often regarded as the most primitive of the hemipteroids. Their name originates from the Greek word psokhos meaning gnawed or rubbed and ptera meaning wings. There are more than 5,500 species in 41 families in three suborders. Many of these species have only been described in recent years. In the 2000s, morphological and molecular evidence has shown that the parasitic lice (Phthiraptera) evolved from within the psocopteran suborder Troctomorpha. In modern systematics, Psocoptera and Phthiraptera are therefore treated together in the order Psocodea. Kingdom: Animalia Class: Insecta Order: Psocoptera
  21. Amber Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph 1.jpg

    From the album MY FOSSIL Collection - Dpaul7

    Amber Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph Dominican Republic Oligocene to Miocene - about 25 million years old Dominican Amber Gemstone, 8.80 ct, Fossil, Psocopteran Nymph. Psocoptera are an order of insects that are commonly known as booklice, barklice or barkflies. They first appeared in the Permian period, 295–248 million years ago. They are often regarded as the most primitive of the hemipteroids. Their name originates from the Greek word psokhos meaning gnawed or rubbed and ptera meaning wings. There are more than 5,500 species in 41 families in three suborders. Many of these species have only been described in recent years. In the 2000s, morphological and molecular evidence has shown that the parasitic lice (Phthiraptera) evolved from within the psocopteran suborder Troctomorpha. In modern systematics, Psocoptera and Phthiraptera are therefore treated together in the order Psocodea. Kingdom: Animalia Class: Insecta Order: Psocoptera
  22. I was in southern Mexico for 9 days on a trip to see an amber mine I've been leasing. I wrote an article about the trip I'd like to share with everyone. Unfortunately I can't share all my photos for fear of someone bootlegging them (I have a couple of competitors), but I will share those with my face in them as I know no one is going to be bold enough to use those. All photos are mine and may be used with my permission (just ask). If I knew of how perilous the journey was, perhaps I would never have gone…but it was worth the risk and I will never forget my journey to the Amber mines of Chiapas… You see these beautifully polished pieces of amber from Mexico, but do you have any idea where they come from or how they are mined? Do you know their true story? I’ll tell you, both their story and mine, and of the people who scratch the amber from the bowels of the earth. Let’s start with a brief history of Chiapas amber. What we know is that it formed some 23-30 million years ago during the Oligocene. Giant trees of the species Hymanea were damaged via hurricanes, earthquakes, and other means, releasing copious amounts of sap from these giant trees. Insects, flowers, leaves, and sometimes frogs, crabs, and lizards were trapped in the sticky resin that flowed from the trees. Sometimes pieces of resin would fall to the ground, encasing other plants and animals. Through floods and other means, these trees and resin were transported to the shallow ocean, where the resin hardened, oysters grew on its surface, and eventually the resin was buried under ocean sediments. Over millions of years, with constant heat and pressure, the resin hardened into copal as volatile organic chemicals left the structure of the copal, eventually turning it to the true amber we know today. This amber was originally discovered by the Mayans, who valued this stone and even included it amongst jaguar pelts and cacao on their inventory scrolls. Eventually, it gained value amongst modern cultures as well who now demand this amber both for its beauty and rare inclusions. In 1953, an archaeologist named Frans Blom discovered the deposits, soon after bringing a group of scientists from the University of Berkley in California to study the amber deposits. It was not until the 1980’s that mining began taking place for amber, with production skyrocketing after the 1993 film, Jurassic Park, to meet demand for amber. This is where I come in... I've been a part of the process of bringing this amber to the United States. Not only do I acquire the amber to add to my own collection, but I also acquire scientifically significant specimens for future paleontological research. These pieces would otherwise be sold to other countries, primarily China, where the pieces would be completely lost to science. I make a point of collecting these specimens and making them available in perpetuity for research, only to be sold to a museum if sold at all. This leads to the reason for my adventure. I’ve been leasing a mine in the rainforest, from which I’ve derived countless pieces of amber for my personal collection. From this mine and others in the area, I’ve brought insects, leaves, carvings, jewelry, wine stoppers, and other things of amber to the US. Through amber, I’ve been able to support more than a dozen families in Chiapas who depend on the amber for their survival. From the miners to carvers to bead makers, they all rely on the amber and subsequently my business (and Americans purchasing the amber from me) to feed and clothe their families and to keep a roof over their heads. Regardless of the importance of this, few people know where the amber comes from or how hard the indigenous people work to find it. When I met all of the workers in Chiapas and spoke to them, that is what really hit home for me on this trip and one of the reasons I risked my life to go where no other “gringo” has gone before—to the heart of this precious stone. I needed to tell Their story. The day started early…about 6AM. My friend, a native from Tuxtla Gutierrez, and myself left via taxi to the bus station to start our journey to the mines. The trip started out uneventfully…maybe an hour and a half ride to the next town from which we needed to take another bus to our final destination. Cramming into the small 8-person bus now loaded with 10 people, my friend begins to explain everything to me…now that we are at the point of no return. He first explains the arrangements he made weeks before. He had to ask for the blessing of the village chief and the elders to take a “foreigner” to see the mines… after explaining who I was and my intentions, and a contribution of course, they agreed to allow me to visit the mines for just this day. Then the owner of the lands had to be consulted, who luckily also gave his blessing upon an explanation and another contribution. Lastly, the manager of the land, a friend of my friend, would meet us and escort us around the mines to further guarantee my safety. Next, my friend began to tell me stories of how other foreigners had not been so fortunate after visiting just the town on their own. About five years ago, the Chinese first started visiting the town to buy amber, but the people grew angry with these foreigners and their tactics (basically bullying) to get the lowest prices possible from the people. Things are not so cordial as they once were. A South Korean man had driven to the town just a month before, setting out a table with about 12 million pesos on one side and a loupe, flashlight, and blue light on the other half… After all the villagers had sold him all the amber they had, he left and began his journey out of the town. Unfortunate for him, the villagers had set up a road block to prevent him from leaving. They promptly took his amber and remaining money at gun point…at which point they allowed him to return to San Cristobal crying, where I was told he drowned his sorrows at a local bar while still crying and telling his plight to anyone who would listen. Just three months before, three Chinese men had visited the town to buy amber as well. Upon their insulting bargaining tactics (throwing amber across the table and calling it trash that they wouldn’t pay more than 1/5 the price for), they were promptly ran out of town with bullets following closely behind them. About a year ago, a Polish man was similarly robbed as the South Korean, with his unfortunate mistake being to refuse to give up the amber, at which point he was promptly shot in the stomach and the amber still taken. Another story was told to me about a Chinese man disappearing over a year ago, but you get the point… the police cannot help you if you upset the people. As my friend finished his stories, he continued to tell me how dangerous the journey is with many people being killed by car accidents on the road…by falling boulders and rock/mud slides from the mountain, and by running off the cliff into the valley below. He further tells me how lucky I am to be going on that day, as the workers had just finished rebuilding the road the day before. It’s at this point I look to the right and see a large section of roadway that had sloughed off the side of the mountain in the last earthquake…no embellishment here…the entire roadway just “fell” off the side of the mountain… It’s at this point I truly became terrified of the journey…. The driver was driving Fast, constantly passing other vehicles on a two lane road, swerving around pot holes and parts of the roadway that had crumbled and fallen over the mountain side…around boulders, stalled vehicles, fallen trees, and remnants of mudslides we went. At one point we were nearly hit head on by a vehicle passing a stalled truck in the opposite lane. The driver did nothing other than a small Hail Mary and a laugh. I’m glad I used the restroom that morning… After seemingly endless twists and turns on this death trap of a road, we arrived at our destination. Upon exiting the cramped bus, we met the friend of my friend who manages the land. We were escorted to the edge of the rainforest, passing villagers who stared at me intently as I walked by…I must have been a strange sight, being pale skinned and a foot taller than anyone in the village. We proceeded to follow a small dirt path into the rainforest, along which I felt like a child. I was captivated by the wild orchids growing on trees, an ants nest of a species I’ve never seen on a nearby tree (whose sting I discovered feels and looks more like a Burn than a fire ant bite), countless banana trees, and coffee bushes (from which I savored a few coffee fruits). We followed the path for maybe two or three miles until it narrowed along the mountain side. I distinctly remember a point at which the path narrowed to maybe a foot in width with a sheer drop of a few hundred feet for anyone who lost their footing. If this was not terrifying enough, there was a gap of maybe two or three feet where this path had been washed away…jumping across such a gap is not an easy task while your legs are shaking from fear of the height. After a long trek, we finally reached the first of the mines with an amazing view of the valley spread before us. The first mine was not by any means the most impressive, yet I was as excited as a dozen childhood Christmases combined. I eagerly asked for permission to enter, at which point I was told no and shown the overhanging rock that was ready to fall at any moment… my heart dropped a bit, until I was told I could enter the next mine. You see, millions of years ago, the amber was deposited where this mountain now stands. One side of this strata was uplifted, causing a diagonal stratigraphic trend of approximately 140 degrees from my estimates. The mines had been dug along this diagonal strata with one mine being followed perhaps 15 vertical feet below the last and 30 yards down slope. The second mine was not currently being worked—lucky for me as I carefully entered what looked like the home of a prehistoric mole at first glance. I gleefully pulled a 365nm UV flashlight from my backpack (the same one I later gave to my friend for his birthday) and proceeded to sweep the floor and walls for amber. The amber pieces shown like stars in the pitch black mine and I happily scooped them up, regardless of their small size. It was the first amber I had found in my life…a childhood dream finally come true…a dream laughably originally implanted in me since watching “Jurassic Park” as a 4 year old. I was shown the dump pile where mine tailings were thrown for children to later break apart the clay to find smaller pieces of amber. I again found some amber in matrix, which my friend promptly put in my backpack, remembering that I needed some amber in-situ for educational purposes. We continued on to several other mines where I was able to frolic in this geological playground and find more amber…passing a couple of mines that had previously caved in…a stark reminder of the dangers of these mines. After passing a few more mines, we came to one that was being worked at the time. Upon first approaching this mine, I could hear the faint sounds of picks on clay walls…then the sound of an approaching miner from within the bowels of the mine. A child of maybe 12 emerged from the mine, a wheel barrow preceding him, loaded with clay. This miner proceeded to run to the end of the small path from the mine and dump the contents of the wheelbarrow before running back into the mine. It was at this point that the manager of the lands asked if I would like a picture with the boy, explaining that the miners only knew Cecile, an indigenous language, and that he would have to ask the boy for us. I was told I needed to pay the boy for the picture, maybe 50 pesos. I happily agreed, at which point the boy was stopped on his next round and asked if he would like to have his picture taken. The manager translated that the boy was excited to have his picture to be taken, and that he exclaimed with joy that he “would be famous in America”. He also added that I was “as big as a bear”. After a picture, we proceeded into the mine, where the manager explained that this one was about 300 meters long, but others could go up to 400 meters into the mountain. The mine is no fun place to be past the entrance…it gets Dark…pitch black…and cramped, narrowing from 5 feet to maybe 3 feet in height in some places—just tall enough for the wheel barrow to make way. The width of the mine is again maybe 4 feet at most. I’m told they keep them small to prevent cave-ins, as there are no braces or ceiling anchors to stabilize the mine shafts. I continued down the shaft, the humidity and heat causing me to sweat profusely…the floor was wet and slippery with mud…as I approached the end of the shaft where the miners were working, the air was thin and stale. I could only stay for a few minutes before nearly passing out, and which point I needed to get out while I could. Every second I was in that cave I kept thinking of the collapsed mines…there was no rescue if a cave in occurred…the mine could also serve as a grave. Upon exiting the cave, I was greatly relieved, as if I had escaped from Hades itself…I inhaled the fresh air with zealous and relished the sunlight that I had been robbed of for seemingly an eternity. A few minutes later, my friend emerged with the land manager and the other miners. They were all fascinated by me and I by them. I was told that other foreigners had visited the village to buy amber, but none had ever visited the mines nor shaken hands with the miners…all the others only cared about the stone, not how it was found nor for the people who found it. I felt honored by this…granted that Richard Attenborough (John Hammond in Jurassic Park) had been my hero as a child, I had now met the true heroes of the story, without whom we would not have this precious stone. Out from the mine was lastly carried a small gourd bowl with a shoe string handle. This bowl contained all the amber found that day for the workers, maybe 200 grams of amber (which would later be maybe 160 after polishing). I took the amber and paid the workers more than what is usual for these workers, in appreciation for their hard work. It was at this point that I realized how hard these people work and couldn’t help but wish they were earning more. We continued on to the neighboring mine, and I was told that this is from where my amber was coming. The workers came out to greet me and to show me their finds for the day. These miners were not what you would expect. No special tools, bare feet to keep from slipping, no shirt as it was too hot for one…only shorts, a hand pick and an ancient flashlight strapped to their heads. This is how all the miners work, with the exception of some still using candles instead of flashlights. The miners were kind and jovial despite the harsh working conditions…the work was hard but they were happy to be able to provide for their families. I couldn’t help but think of how miserable and complaintive someone in the US would be of working in such conditions for so little pay. The workers first presented me with a gift of a high quality piece of amber, after which they showed me all of their other finds from the day. After paying the workers what they had earned for the amber, I paid them more still to take a photo with me in front of the mine. They happily agreed and posed with me in all their mining gear (shorts). After telling them goodbye, we continued down the mountain, myself darting from mine entrance to mine entrance looking for whatever scraps of amber the workers had left behind…these scraps were of little monetary value, but regardless I was savoring the hunt. After reaching the last mine, the land manager tells us that it would be easier to continue down the mountain rather than back up... meaning we still needed to cross the creek, and hike to the road where we could get a ride in a taxi…if only it were as easy as it sounded! The descent was Steep and treacherous…again, narrow paths along the mountain with a couple of washed out gaps that I had to jump over and pray that I landed on my mark…too short and I would fall…too far and I would fall too. We finally reached the edge of the mountain near the creek, at which our then guide, the land manager, proceeds to rappel down vines and tree roots down the cliff side onto slippery boulders in the creek. I would be lying if I said it was easy, or even halfway within OSHA regulations to get down that way…but climbing and clawing my way down the side of the cliff, I finally touched my feet on the rocks below. Then a hop, skip, and a jump across the rocks in the raging creek and I was home free to the road…or so I thought. A taxi stopped for us surprisingly soon as we arrived at the roadway…with 3 passengers in tow. One of the passengers crammed into the front seat with the other, with now four of us squeezing into the back like we were in some clown car on the way to a circus. With a third try of closing the door after being told “Mas Fuerte! (Stronger), I finally slammed the door with a sound that startled everyone in the car…they should have been more specific on how much stronger... The driving began crossing the creek with his now human sardine can of a car…slipping and sliding over rocks in the creek….one rock rolling under the car with such violence that I could feel the rock with my feet…scratching and bending the bottom of the car….the car struggled to cross the creek and I began to see water come into the floorboard…it’s not a good feeling seeing water enter a car when you’re crammed in it with 6 other people… Finally we crossed the creek and were back safely in the village for now. Next we were invited to the land managers house to look at some amber he had to sell. We entered the small house…it had windows but no glass; a blue painted concrete floor, orange adobe walls, and a tin roof. The man asked his wife to fetch some fresh orange juice for us while we talked business. As we drank together, the man dumps out maybe three kilos of amber for us to sort through and to select the pieces we wanted. Many pieces were of common insects but a few struck my eye…a giant ant, millipedes, an ant with fungus, a termite filled with water, a large wasp, a flower, and a few other pieces struck my fancy. The man told me what prices he wanted for the pieces and joked with my friend about how he usually wouldn’t give such good prices, but he would for me. I bought the pieces for a decent sum of pesos, after which the man agreed to drive us to the next town to catch the bus. Don’t think the story is over so soon…we are almost there! You see, it was getting dark at this point and Foggy…and I was getting a bad migraine too (maybe from the altitude), not that this point matters. The way down the mountain was even more terrifying than the way up…which seemed impossible before. With the darkness and dense fog, I could no longer see the road, cliff, boulders, road washouts, or hardly anything else. It terrifies me to think about the probable…that our driver couldn’t see these things either…that he was driving mostly from memory of the treacherous road and had remembered every death trap along the way. The most I could do was to frantically wipe the condensation from the windshield to help him to see whatever he could and hope that he didn’t forget an inch of that unforgiving road….in the darkness and dense fog… We finally made it to the next town to catch a bus…after a three hour, perilous journey. On the way back I saw two more buses that had crashed head on…I was extremely thankful that it had not been us…we were very lucky to have made the journey safely despite all of the dangers. I have some final thoughts I want to share while I still have your attention. I want you to think about the people of Chiapas and about the amber they toil for. I used to work in the oilfield as an instrumentation specialist and it was a miserable job…working 12-20 hours a day…14 days straight, sometimes up to 140 hours in a week when things went awry…carrying heavy equipment in horrible, dangerous working conditions. I used to complain all the time about that job…until I met these workers. They have far worse working conditions than you or I ever had…they get paid much less too, yet they are happy because they can provide for their families. Why do they get paid so little? Because people will only pay so much for the amber... After paying the workers, leasing fees, monetary conversion fees, money sending fees, Mexican government taxes, labor fees to my friend for polishing the amber and managing operations, shipping fees, income taxes, and other overhead, there isn't a lot to make…but I don’t do this for the money; I do this because I love amber and now that these families depend on me, I can’t let them down. So next time you look at a piece of amber, don’t just look at the stone, think about the people who are sacrificing so much to bring this stone to you…when you think a piece of amber is expensive, think about what you would ask if you were the one who had to dig for it. Some additional details about the journey of the amber after the mines: After the amber is mined, it is washed, windows are polished to see if insects are inside and to check the quality of the amber. Pieces with insects are polished and sold as-is. Tiny pieces are used as chip beads, small pieces for other types of beads, medium sized pieces for small carvings and pendants, and large pieces primarily for carvings. If you have questions please feel free to contact me.
  23. Electribius

    It weighs 0.2 grams. Measurement are of the stone. The lenght of insect is 1.2 mm.
  24. Amber Inclusion ID

    Hello, a friend of mine gave me this fossil of baltic amber from an antiquity of 40 million years. It has an insect. I would like to know what kind of insect it is.\
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