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Scylla

Tree Resin On The Beach Results In Ammonite Fossil Encased In Amber 99 Million Years Later

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Al Dente

I'm a bit skeptical on this one. How can the tree sap flow onto the beach and pick up the ammonite without picking up the surrounding sand that the ammonite is laying on?

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Misha
13 minutes ago, Al Dente said:

I'm a bit skeptical on this one. How can the tree sap flow onto the beach and pick up the ammonite without picking up the surrounding sand that the ammonite is laying on?

It had some sand both in the resin and ammonite itself, also other sea creatures like marine snails were also found inside the piece.

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Al Dente
21 minutes ago, Misha said:

It had some sand both in the resin and ammonite itself, also other sea creatures like marine snails were also found inside the piece.

Here's a picture. The ammonite is filled with sediment but only a few grains are outside.

 

 

ammo.JPG

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RJB

  If this is true, then its purty dang cool!

 

RB

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LiamL

Would this be considered a fossil? Since it's not gone through fossilisation, or is amber actually a type of fossil?

Super cool though.

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digit

This sounded odd enough that I had to read the short text that accompanied the article:

 

The outer shell of the ammonite is also broken and the entrance is full of sand. Scientists believe it would have washed up on a sandy beach covered with shells that was close to resin-producing trees. 

 

The sample also contains flying insects which were probably trapped by the resin as it was pouring out of the tree.

 

As, the ammonite which is 33mm long, 9.5mm wide, 29mm high and weighs 6.08g, flowed down the trunk it trapped organisms near the foot of the tree and when it reached the beach it entombed the shells. 

 

The first sentence seems to describe their vision of how this might explain how a (dead) ammonite became trapped in amber after being washed up on a sandy beach. I would still expect a lot more sand to be in place in the amber if the sticky sap were to have flowed directly onto the sandy shore. I'm wondering if this little ammonite shell might have been light enough to have been caught up in a gust of wind and tossed onto a forming glob of sticky sap and later entombed with all the other bug bits? The taphonomy of this is, to be sure, quite confusing and highly unusual. I'm guessing it is not a hoax but also not well explained (if there could ever be a decent explanation).

 

BTW: The last sentence in the above quote from the website it highly mangled and shows that the person who wrote this blurb for the website surely didn't pass it by an editor (or any literate English speaker). Sheesh! (I do occasional copy editing and stuff like this drives me nuts!) :blink:

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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daves64
1 hour ago, digit said:

As, the ammonite which is 33mm long, 9.5mm wide, 29mm high and weighs 6.08g, flowed down the trunk it trapped organisms near the foot of the tree and when it reached the beach it entombed the shells. 

So they are saying the ammonite flowed down the trunk & trapped other organisms, which then became encased in resin. When did they start climbing trees? :zzzzscratchchin:

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digit
10 minutes ago, daves64 said:

When did they start climbing trees? 

When editors became extinct and writing is farmed out to freelancers who mail in their work unchecked. :wacko:

 

Darned wily those ammonites. :ammonite01:

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Mediospirifer
5 hours ago, LiamL said:

Would this be considered a fossil? Since it's not gone through fossilisation, or is amber actually a type of fossil?

Super cool though.

 

Yes, amber is considered a fossil, as are any formerly-living inclusions within it. Very cool!

 

On the sand (or rather, lack thereof) observation, I wonder if the marine shells were washed up onto a rocky beach and then engulfed by the amber. Or if they were washed up with a dead fish, became loosely stuck to it, then were carried into a tree with it by a Jurassic seagull equivalent and dropped off into the amber from above. Just speculating...

 

By the way, here's a link to the paper: LINK.

 

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Scylla

Maybe the ammonite ended up in a tree because one of those birds that decorate their nests brought it there along with the other shells, or maybe dinosaurs had similar behaviors and the ammonite was important in the mating rituals of dinosaurs. Hey, maybe the extinction of ammonites led to the extinction of dinosaurs by preventing successful mating? That must be it!:P 

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Mediospirifer
24 minutes ago, Scylla said:

Maybe the ammonite ended up in a tree because one of those birds that decorate their nests brought it there along with the other shells, or maybe dinosaurs had similar behaviors and the ammonite was important in the mating rituals of dinosaurs. Hey, maybe the extinction of ammonites led to the extinction of dinosaurs by preventing successful mating? That must be it!:P 

 

:default_rofl:

 

Seriously, though, I'd bet on the marine specimens getting to the forest floor via storm surge. Quote from the paper:

 

Quote

 

The incomplete preservation and lack of soft body of the ammonite and marine gastropods suggest that they were dead and underwent abrasion on the seashore before entombment. It is most likely that the resin fell to the beach from coastal trees, picking up terrestrial arthropods and beach shells and, exceptionally, surviving the high-energy beach environment to be preserved as amber.

 

 

If the fresh resin dripped onto a beach below the normal high-tide line, I wouldn't expect it to survive and fossilize. High-energy storms can wash lightweight material to much higher zones, and a "storm of the century" could leave shells high and dry to be undisturbed for decades. I don't know how long it takes for a blob of resin to harden enough to survive the elements, but I'd bet it's several days at least.

 

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Mark Kmiecik
4 hours ago, daves64 said:

So they are saying the ammonite flowed down the trunk & trapped other organisms, which then became encased in resin. When did they start climbing trees? :zzzzscratchchin:

That's the way I read it first. The second time around I realized they meant the sap. The mental image of nautiloids climbing trees will now forever be in my head. Thanks. :headscratch:

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Pagurus
8 hours ago, Mediospirifer said:

High-energy storms can wash lightweight material to much higher zones, and a "storm of the century" could leave shells high and dry to be undisturbed for decades

 

I've often found shells and shriveled marine life scattered at the foot of fir trees after a winter storm. Since the amber in this study contains very little sand, I agree that this scenario is quite possible.

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Wrangellian

At a time when I'm starting to look at Myanmar amber fossils on our favorite auction site, just now I happened to stumble across the story and was going to post it, but as usual I'm a day late and a dollar short.

Not something you see every day!

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/05/ancient-ammonite-fossilized-in-tree-resin-burmese-amber/

 

I should mention, in my browsing the amber pieces for sale, I saw a couple specimens with a little solitary coral on them (not cheap otherwise I'd buy one). It appeared the coral was growing on the outside, which could indicate that the coral was recent, but I doubt it. It could be contemporary, if the resin hardened after falling into the water (as I think it would have), and I believe the site where the amber is mined is far away from the sea today. No certainty that it wasn't faked of course, but maybe an expert will get their hands on one and make a determination.

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