Amber is fossilized tree resin. Not sap, which rises in the interior cells of the tree, but resin, a sticky secretion in the outer part of the tree. Tree resin is normally broken down by weather, bacteria and fungi, but some resin, from some trees, avoids or resists these destructive forces. Resin that is semi-fossilized over hundreds of years is called copal; copal is commercially available from South American and Madagascar. True amber ranges in age from 30 - 130 million years; recently a find in Italy purports to be 230 million years old. The most familiar source for amber is the Baltic region, but amber occurs around the world - in the Dominican Republic, Chiapas, Mexico, Lebanon, Burma, and New Jersey, for example.
Inclusions (insects, plants, bubbles...) occur in a small percentage of amber; the interesting thing about amber is that it preserved the soft tissues, while in other fossils, only the bones and teeth were mineralized and preserved. As you might imagine, the creatures and items that became 'stuck' in resin and thereby preserved were generally small - tiny insects, bits of foliage, hairs and spiderwebs. Rarely, something larger was somehow preserved - a lizard, a frog, a whole flower. But all these perfectly preserved specimens can be studied to better understand the world as it was millions of years ago.
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