Amber is very important to science due to the remains of flora and fauna contained within.
Amber inclusions are like photographs made 50 million years ago that allow us to observe the behaviour of various miniature fauna samples, their interaction with other species, to gather information about plant species and the climate of the time.
Inclusions are encountered mainly in the clear, layered type of amber. The sticky resin was a real trap for insects, arachnids and centipedes.
Arthropods are the most common discovery in amber containing inclusions.
Around 80 percent of them are two-winged insects.
Fragments of molluscs, vertebrate animals and even lizards were captured in the resin. Larger animals are rarely found in Baltic amber because they managed to free themselves from the sticky resin.
If larger, dead organisms were not completely covered in resin, the air that would become trapped inside would lead to oxidation and decay, and would disintegrate over many years. Even though the internal organs of organisms that became trapped in amber would usually decay, their surface structure would be preserved to the finest detail.
This allows scientists to identify organisms that existed 50 million years ago and to follow the course of their evolution.
As mentioned earlier, amber inclusions are an excellent material for observing species behaviour and interaction.
It is possible to see spiders spinning their webs or capturing their prey. Entire swarms of flies, mosquitoes or termites became trapped in resin during their mating flights. Mammal fur harboured fleas already 50 million years ago.
Amber also contains remains of timber, bark and conifer needles, various blossoms, fragments of moss and lichen that grew on bark surfaces.
Plant parts make up only 0.4 percent of all the inclusions found in amber.
Oak blossom filaments feature prominently in many amber pieces, which suggests that resin was extruded in the greatest volumes when the oaks were in bloom, and that amber forests were mixed (coniferous and deciduous trees).
Interesting to know:
lnclusfons tell us a great deal about the symbiosis that existed between species tens of millions of years ago, and which might continue even today.
We have the chance to observe the most varied imagers: pseudo-scorpions that lived in moss, attaching themselves to fly or wasp kegs, being transported from one place to another, flea larvae feeding on the juices emitted by cicadas, a parasitic worm emerging from the body of a female mosquito, ants "tickling aphids with their feelers so that they would express their nectar.
(Source: Lithuanian Art Museum, pgm.lt)