Published on December 2nd, 2021 | by David Marshall
Episode 131/132: Burmese Amber Pt1
Burmese amber is well known for preserving fossils in exquisite details. This amber is dated to around 100 million years old, representing the Albian – Cenomanian ages of the Cretaceous period, so would have been deposited whilst non-avian dinosaurs still walked the land.
Fossils preserved in this amber include representatives from numerous different groups including arachnids, insects, vertebrates, and plants. Whilst the amber itself (as fossilised tree sap/resin) is produced in a terrestrial environment, some marine species have been caught up in amber. This includes such animals as ostracods, snails and surprisingly even an ammonite!
In the first part of this series, we speak to Dr Javier Luque, Harvard University, about the discovery of a crab in amber. We put this discovery in context by first examining what crabs are, before turning our attention to their fossil record. In the next episode, we’ll take a look at the details of the discovery.
Following on from this, we will discuss the political situation in Myanmar and question whether or not working with Burmese amber is currently ethical.
The Christmas Island red crab is an excellent example of this. This crab is entirely terrestrial, but will lay its eggs in the sea. There the larvae develop through different phases before making the transition back onto land as young crabs.