Unexpected Marine Treasures In Amber

For the first time, scientists have unearthed ancient chunks of amber that contain the fossils of marine microorganisms called diatoms. Found in a thick layer of 98-million-year–old rocks in southwestern France, the amber also contains bits of fallen leaves and soil-dwelling organisms, says Vincent Girard, a paleontologist at the University of Rennes 1 in France. He and his colleagues speculate that all of these organisms may have become trapped in tree resin that had dripped to the tide-washed ground in a mangrove-like forest and then hardened.

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