BERNSTEIN - DAS GOLD DES NORDENS

AMBER - THE GOLD OF THE NORTH

Flugsaurier-Kopf im Bernstein! - Head of a Pterosaur in amber!

Bernstein bezeichnet den seit Jahrtausenden bekannten und insbesondere im Ostseeraum weit verbreiteten klaren bis undurchsichtigen gelben Schmuckstein aus fossiliem Harz. Damit ist überwiegend nur ein bestimmtes fossiles Harz gemeint, dieser Bernstein im engeren Sinne ist die Bernsteinart mit dem wissenschaftlichen Namen Succinit. Die Bezeichnungen Succinit und Baltischer Bernstein werden oft synonym verwendet, da Succinit den weitaus überwiegenden Teil des Baltischen Bernsteins ausmacht. Die anderen fossilen Harze im Baltischen Bernstein stammen von unterschiedlichen Pflanzenarten und werden auch als „Bernstein im weiteren Sinne“ bezeichnet. Manche kommen mit dem Succinit zusammen vor, z. B. die schon lange aus den baltischen Vorkommen bekannten Bernsteinarten Gedanit, Glessit, Beckerit und Stantienit. Diese werden auch als akzessorische Harze bezeichnet. Andere fossile Harze verschiedener botanischer Herkunft bilden hingegen eigenständige Lagerstätten unterschiedlichen geologischen Alters, wie z. B. der Dominikanische Bernstein und der Libanon-Bernstein. Von der großen Gruppe der Kopale   gehören nur die fossilen, aus der Erde gegrabenen Vertreter (z. B. der „Madagaskar-Kopal“) entsprechend der Definition trotz ihres geologisch jungen Alters zu den Bernsteinen. Der älteste bekannte Bernstein stammt aus etwa 310 Millionen Jahre alten Steinkohlen. Seit dem Paläozoikum ist das Harz damaliger Bäume als feste, amorphe (nicht kristalline) Substanz erhalten geblieben. Für die Wissenschaft, insbesondere für die Paläontologie, ist Bernstein mit Einschlüssen, den so genannten Inklusen, von Interesse. Diese Einschlüsse sind Fossilien von kleinen Tieren oder Pflanzenteilen, deren Abdrücke, in seltenen Fällen auch Gewebereste, im Bernstein seit Jahrmillionen perfekt erhalten sind. Schon seit der Steinzeit wurde Bernstein als Schmuck verwendet, und die Römer der Antike wussten den Baltischen Bernstein sehr zu schätzen und nannten ihn "das Gold des Nordens".

Im Bernstein eingeschlossene Trauermücke. / Sciaridae in amber. (Creative Commons)

Amber is fossilized tree resin, which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is made into a variety of decorative objects. Amber is used in jewelry. It has also been used as a healing agent in folk medicine.There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents. Because it originates as a soft, sticky tree resin, amber sometimes contains animal and plant material as inclusions. Amber occurring in coal seams is also called resinite, and the term ambrite is applied to that found specifically within New Zealand coal seams. Fossil resins from Europe fall into two categories, the famous Baltic ambers and another that resembles the Agathis group. Fossil resins from the Americas and Africa are closely related to the modern genus Hymenaea, while Baltic ambers are thought to be fossil resins from Sciadopityaceae family plants that used to live in north Europe. The abnormal development of resin in living trees (succinosis) can result in the formation of amber. Impurities are quite often present, especially when the resin dropped onto the ground, so the material may be useless except for varnish-making. Such impure amber is called firniss. Such inclusion of other substances can cause amber to have an unexpected color. Pyrites may give a bluish color. Bony amber owes its cloudy opacity to numerous tiny bubbles inside the resin. mber is a unique preservational mode, preserving otherwise unfossilizable parts of organisms; as such it is helpful in the reconstruction of ecosystems as well as organisms; the chemical composition of the resin, however, is of limited utility in reconstructing the phylogenetic affinity of the resin producer. Amber sometimes contains animals or plant matter that became caught in the resin as it was secreted. Insects, spiders and even their webs, annelids, frogs, crustaceans, bacteria and amoebae, marine microfossils, wood, flowers and fruit, hair, feathers and other small organisms have been recovered in Cretaceous ambers (deposited ca 130 million years ago). The oldest amber to bear fossils (mites) is from the Carnian (Triassic, 230 million years ago) of north-eastern Italy. The Romans of the ancient world called the Baltic Amber "the gold of the north".

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ONE OF THE OLDEST-KNOWN SPECIES OF BEES

A new family, genus and species of minute, stem lineage, pollen-collecting bee is described from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber. The female specimen of Discoscapaapicula gen. et sp. nov. in the new family Discoscapidae (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) shares with modern bees, plumose hairs, a rounded pronotal lobe, middle and hind leg scopae containing pollen grains and a pair of spurs on the hind tibia. But its narrow hind basitarsi, extremely low placed antennal sockets and some wing vein features are those of apoid wasps. A unique diagnostic character of the new family not found on any extant or extinct lineage of apoid wasps or bees is a bifurcated scape. Pollen grains in scopae on the femur and tibia of the middle and hind legs and on the claw and tarsus of the middle leg show that the bee had recently visited one or more flowers. Further evidence of this action is the presence of 21 beetle triungulins in the amber, five of which are in direct contact with the bee.

Fig - Discoscapa apicula gen. et sp. nov. in Burmese amber. A – Right lateral view of body. Arrows show four associated beetle triungulins. Arrowhead shows scopae on hind leg femur. Bar = 0.65 mm. Insert shows rounded pronotal lobe (arrow). Bar = 0.70 mm. B – Left lateral view of body. Arrow shows scutum. Bar = 0.62 mm.

https://bioone.org/…/Discoscapid…/10.18476/pale.v13.a1.full…

 

      

Eine Ameise im Baltischen Bernstein. / An ant inside Baltic amber. (Creative Commons) - Säugetierhaare / Hair of a mammal (fossilien.de)

Moderkäfer und mehr

 Foto: www.fossilien.de
 Inkluse(n): Moderkäfer "Latridiidae", Blattlaus, Mücke
 Größe der Inkluse(n): Moderkäfer: ca. 1,3 mm
 Größe d. Bernsteins: ca. 36 x 17 x 9 mm
 Fundort: Baltikum, Jantarny (ehemals Palmnicken) bei Königsberg/Kaliningrad
 Stratigrafie: Tertiär, Eozän
 Alter: ca. 28 bis 54 Millionen Jahre

KLEINER FLUSAURIER-KOPF IM KREIDEZEITLICHEN BERNSTEIN!

LITTLE HEAD OF A PTEROSAUR IN CREATACOUS AMBER!

Of course it is preferred to have a full specimen perfectly preserved in Amber and as creatures get larger and larger it becomes harder to expect to find the whole animal in amber so fossil collectors look for parts of animals in the amber. Perhaps the most common animal parts found in amber are feathers and lizard/snake/skink/newt skin. Many bird and animal heads have been found in burmite amber but their condition is often poor with decaying animal fogging the animal often beyond recognition unless special lighting is used. Burmite is a variety of amber. A generally deep red amber from Burma. An amber occurring in the upper Hukong Valley, Burma/Myanmar. Differs from ordinary amber in that it doesn't contain succinic acid. Age: Cretaceous.

Source:
 
 
 
On the first picture (aerial  view of the top of the head) shown you can clearly see the pterosaur teeth splayed outwards into the amber.

The second photo is a close up picture of the pterosaur's beak showing its last supper caught in the spout.

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MAHN Museum of Natural History - France-06 to WAS World Archives of Sciences

Evidence of Proteins, Chromosomes and Chemical Markers of DNA in Exceptionally Preserved Dinosaur Cartilage!
(†Ornithischia, †Hadrosauridae, †Lambeosaurini)
Thank you to our friend Amber Man (facebook), for making us discover the interesting work of Dr Alida M Bailleul!
The possibility that DNA can survive for tens of millions of years is not currently recognized by the scientific community. Rather, based upon kinetic experiments and modelling, it is generally accepted that DNA persists less than 1 million years. These new data support other results that suggest DNA in some form can persist in Mesozoic tissues, and lay the foundation for future efforts to recover and sequence DNA from other very ancient fossils in laboratories worldwide...
 
Bailleul et al. 2020 (1), said: "A histological ground-section from a duck-billed dinosaur nestling (Hypacrosaurus stebingeri) revealed microstructures morphologically consistent with nuclei and chromosomes in cells within calcified cartilage. We hypothesized that this exceptional cellular preservation extended to the molecular level and had molecular features in common with extant avian cartilage. Histochemical and immunological evidence supports in situ preservation of extracellular matrix components found in extant cartilage, including glycosaminoglycans and collagen type II. Furthermore, isolated Hypacrosaurus chondrocytes react positively with two DNA intercalating stains. Specific DNA staining is only observed inside the isolated cells, suggesting endogenous nuclear material survived fossilization. Our data support the hypothesis that calcified cartilage is preserved at the molecular level in this Mesozoic material, and suggest that remnants of once-living chondrocytes, including their DNA, may preserve for millions of years."
 
Photo(s) 1: Isolated chondrocytes of Hypacrosaurus and their positive response to two DNA assays. (A, B, E) Isolated chondrocytes of Hypacrosaurus and emu photographed under transmitted light (green arrows). Hypacrosaurus chondrocytes were successfully isolated as individual cells (A) and cell doublets (B). Hypacrosaurus (C) and emu chondrocytes (F) showing positive response to propidium iodide (PI), a DNA intercalating dye, to a small and circular region that locates intracellularly (white arrows). Hypacrosaurus (D) and emu chondrocytes (G) also show a similar binding when exposed to 4′,6′-diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride (DAPI), another DNA-specific stain (black arrows) although in both cases, emu cell staining is significantly greater than in the dinosaur cells. Bailleul et al. 2020 (1).
 
Photo(s) 2: Ground section of Hypacrosaurus (MOR 548) supraoccipital shows exceptional histological preservation of calcified cartilage. (A) An isolated supraoccipital (So) of Hypacrosaurus in dorsal view. (B–D) Ground section of another So showing calcified cartilage with hypertrophic chondrocyte lacunae. (C) Some cell doublets appear empty (green arrow), but others (pink arrow) present darker, condensed material consistent in shape and location with a nucleus (white arrows). (D) Dark, condensed, and elongated material with morphological characteristics of metaphase chromosomes. The limit of the cell lacuna is visible (black arrow). (E) Caudal view of a juvenile emu skull (∼8–10 months old) showing the So and exoccipitals (Exo) in articulation. (F, G) Ground section (stained with Toluidine blue) of calcified cartilage from this emu skull showing cell doublets (pink arrows) with remnants of nuclei (white arrows) and others without intracellular content (green arrow). Bailleul et al. 2020 (1).
 
Bibliography:
 
(1) Alida M Bailleul, Wenxia Zheng, John R Horner, Brian K Hall, Casey M Holliday and Mary H Schweitzer, 2020. Evidence of proteins, chromosomes and chemical markers of DNA in exceptionally preserved dinosaur cartilage. National Science Review, nwz206.

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TICKS PARASITISED FEATHERED DINOSAURS
ZECKEN ALS PARASITEN GEFIEDERTER SAURIER

Abstract: Ticks are currently among the most prevalent blood-feeding ectoparasites, but their feeding habits and hosts in deep time have long remained speculative. Here, we report direct and indirect evidence in 99 million-year-old Cretaceous amber showing that hard ticks and ticks of the extinct new family Deinocrotonidae fed on blood from feathered dinosaurs, non-avialan or avialan excluding crown-group birds. A †Cornupalpatum burmanicum hard tick is entangled in a pennaceous feather. Two deinocrotonids described as †Deinocroton draculi gen. et sp. nov. have specialised setae from dermestid beetle larvae (hastisetae) attached to their bodies, likely indicating cohabitation in a feathered dinosaur nest. A third conspecific specimen is blood-engorged, its anatomical features suggesting that deinocrotonids fed rapidly to engorgement and had multiple gonotrophic cycles. These findings provide insight into early tick evolution and ecology, and shed light on poorly known arthropod–vertebrate interactions and potential disease transmission during the Mesozoic.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5727220/

Picture: Cornupalpatum burmanicum hard tick entangled in a feather. a Photograph of the Burmese amber piece (Bu JZC-F18) showing a semicomplete pennaceous feather. Scale bar, 5 mm. b Detail of the nymphal tick in dorsal view and barbs (inset in a). Scale bar, 1 mm. c Detail of the tick’s capitulum (mouthparts), showing palpi and hypostome with teeth (arrow). Scale bar, 0.1 mm. d Detail of a barb. Scale bar, 0.2 mm. e Drawing of the tick in dorsal view indicating the point of entanglement. Scale bar, 0.2 mm. f Detached barbule pennulum showing hooklets on one of its sides (arrow in a indicates its location but in the opposite side of the amber piece). Scale bar, 0.2 mm - Below: The blood-engorged tick.

No photo description available.

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The 8.2-millimeter millipede had five-unit compound eyes and an unusually hairless rear end (Leif Moritz)
 
TAUSENDFÜßER MIT FACETTENAUGEN IM BERNSTEIN!
 
About 99 million years ago, a petite millipede unlike any known today found itself entrapped in viscous tree resin that eventually hardened into Burmese amber. Newly dubbed Burmanopetalum inexpectatum, the arthropod measured just 8.2 millimeters, boasted five-unit compound eyes, and had an unusually hairless hypoproct - or in layman's terms, butt. The critter was a far cry from modern millipedes, which can reach up to 100 millimeters in length and have at least 30 optical units.
 
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/petite-99-million-year-old-millipede-was-entrapped-amber-180972100/#H63xjhDSpiROSBZ7.99
 

AN AMMONITE TRAPPED IN BURMESE AMBER

Tingting Yu, Richard Kelly, Lin Mu, Andrew Ross, Jim Kennedy, Pierre Broly, Fangyuan Xia, Haichun Zhang, Bo Wang, and David Dilcher
PNAS June 4, 2019 116 (23) 11345-11350; first published May 13, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1821292116

ABSTRACT: Amber is fossilized tree resin, and inclusions usually comprise terrestrial and, rarely, aquatic organisms. Marine fossils are extremely rare in Cretaceous and Cenozoic ambers. Here, we report a record of an ammonite with marine gastropods, intertidal isopods, and diverse terrestrial arthropods as syninclusions in mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber. We used X-ray–microcomputed tomography (CT) to obtain high-resolution 3D images of the ammonite, including its sutures, which are diagnostically important for ammonites. The ammonite is a juvenile Puzosia (Bhimaites) and provides supporting evidence for a Late Albian–Early Cenomanian age of the amber. There is a diverse assemblage (at least 40 individuals) of arthropods in this amber sample from both terrestrial and marine habitats, including Isopoda, Acari (mites), Araneae (spiders), Diplopoda (millipedes), and representatives of the insect orders Blattodea (cockroaches), Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (true flies), and Hymenoptera (wasps). 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. Our findings not only represent a record of an ammonite in amber but also provide insights into the taphonomy of amber and the paleoecology of Cretaceous amber forests.

Entire thallus of Electrophycus astroplethus in Burmese amber. Arrow shows holdfast. Scale bar = 1.6 mm

A green algae (Chaetophorales: Chaetophoraceae) in #Burmese #amber

George Poinar and Alex E. Brown

A green alga in Burmese amber is described as Electrophycus astroplethus gen. et spec. nov. and tentatively placed in the extant family Chaetophoraceae. The new species is characterised by apical–basal polarity as defined by a holdfast located at the base of the filament cluster, and uniseriate filaments with many attached star-shaped clusters of spines. Reproductive units are produced in the spines. The species is considered to represent a terrestrial aerial alga that quite possibly was growing on the bark of the resin-producing tree. The presence of an oribatid mite (Acari: Oribatida), species of which are known to feed on algae, adjacent to the filaments, supports this view.

Discussion
Some species of marine algae in the genus Hypnea J. V.Lamouroux, 1812 (Cystocloniaceae) also have forked stellate branches (Dawson 1956). However, the branch structures of these species are easily distinguished from Electrophycus, which is considered a terrestrial aerial species. A terrestrial habitat for the fossil is based on the presence of an oribatid mite larva (Acari: Oribatida) adjacent to the thallus of Electrophycus. Algae are among the various food items of oribatid mites (Schuster 1956; Harding and Stuttard 1974). Several types of reproductive units appear to be developing in the cellular layers lining the walls of the spines. These reproductive units vary in size and shape. While most of the smaller reproductive units probably represent asexual zoospores, some of the larger units could represent gametes. In some cases, the spines contained what appear to be flagellated cells. When mature, the reproductive units may move to the central lumen of the spine, and are expelled thought the broken tip or they remain ‘in situ’ until the spinal walls deteriorate. The fossil is considered to be a terrestrial, aerial species living in a moist tropical habitat, quite possibly attached to the bark of the resin-producing tree. Its ecology may have been similar to that of the terrestrial filamentous green algae, Barranca multiflagellata (Caisová et al.). While quite different structurally from the fossil, B. multiflagellata survives in a volcanic canyon under changing weather conditions (winter rains and summer droughts) (Caisová et al. 2015). Fossil fresh-water algae are well known in sedimentary deposits (Bradley 1929); however, the morphological details in these fossils are not clear and none have the physical features of the amber-entombed E. astroplethus.

https://doi.org/10.1080/08912963.2019.1616719

Figure 1

Looping geometrid caterpillar from Baltic amber. It is situated in a dorsal to lateral aspect with the Geometridae-type prolegs clearly visible. Scale bar equals 1 mm. The software Helicon Focus Mac 7.0.1 was used (https://www.heliconsoft.com/helicon-focus-history-of-changes-mac/). - Eogeometer vadens nov. gen., nov. spec. Scientific Reports volume 9, Article number: 17201 (2019)

PART SPIDER PART SCORPION - AN EXCITING FOSSIL IN AMBER

"MAHN Museum of Natural History - France-06" informs about an article of Huang et al. 2018 (1): "Understanding the genealogical relationships among the arachnid orders is an onerous task, but fossils have aided in anchoring some branches of the arachnid tree of life. The discovery of Palaeozoic fossils with characters found in both extant spiders and other arachnids provided evidence for a series of extinctions of what was thought to be a grade, Uraraneida, that led to modern spiders. Here, we report two extraordinarily well-preserved Mesozoic members of Uraraneida with a segmented abdomen, multi-articulate spinnerets with well-defined spigots, modified male palps, spider-like chelicerae and a uropygid-like telson. The new fossils, belonging to the species Chimerarachne yingi, were analysed phylogenetically in a large data matrix of extant and extinct arachnids under a diverse regime of analytical conditions, most of which resulted in placing Uraraneida as the sister clade of Araneae (spiders). The phylogenetic placement of this arachnid fossil extends the presence of spinnerets and modified palps more basally in the arachnid tree than was previously thought. Ecologically, the new fossil extends the record of Uraraneida 170 million years towards the present, thus showing that uraraneids and spiders co-existed for a large fraction of their evolutionary history."
(1) Huang et al. 2018. Origin of spiders and their spinning organs illuminated by mid-Cretaceous amber fossils. Nature Ecology & Evolution volume 2, 623–627.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0475-9.

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LAND SNAIL IN CRETACEOUS AMBER - ca 1,5 cm, Myanmar

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