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EXPLANATIONS FOR THE ORIGINS OF AMBER

The first scientific explanation for the formation of amber was given by Ancient Roman scientist Plinius the Elder (23-79) in his treatise Historia naturalis.

He claimed that amber was resin from coniferous trees that grew in the north, carried by water into the sea and then hardened.

He based this conclusion on the fact that when burned, amber emits the aroma of pine resin, and that it sometimes contains remains of insects and plants.

Other scientists offered somewhat more inventive explanations for the origins of amber - it was believed that amber was in fact lynx urine.

The lynx, protecting its urine, would dig it deep under the earth where it would harden and be transformed into amber.

In the 15th century Georg Agricola claimed that amber was formed at the bottom of the sea from liquid bitumen.

Daniel Herman also proposed that amber originated from petroleum in the 16th century.

His philosophical poem was published in 1583 titled About the frog and the lizard trapped in Prussian amber, where he gave an explanation about the formation of inclusions.

(Source: Lithuanian Art Museum, pgm.lt)