How Is Amber Able to Preserve Something


“Fossil frog in baltic amber — or not!” by thomasina is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

By: Aidan Bishop, Journalist

The way that scientists have been able to look at the past and see how animals have evolved is mainly because of amber. Amber is a substance that comes from resin. It is most commonly found when resin from a resin bearing tree hardens. when a tree eating insect or animal makes a breach in the bark the resin will come to try and clog up the gap. Sometimes when resin is excreted it can come out in globs which can trap flying or crawling creatures. It is then buried in the ground when the tree falls. Finally after many years the resin continues to harden until it becomes amber. The reason why amber is able to preserve life so well comes down to its chemical makeup. The original resin that amber comes from is an antiseptic which helps reduce decay and keeps something from getting sick. Also amber lacks water which has the same effect as the antiseptic. Although amber is not able to keep something alive it does have the ability to keep the cells from dying. This is why any ‘life” found in amber looks like it was still alive. Amber is an amazing tool and helps a lot when it comes to studying the past, and who knows maybe one day we will be able to clone prehistoric animals with the DNA found in amber.





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