Spider In Baltic Amber, 40 Million Years Old
Spider In Baltic Amber, 40 Million Years Old
Spider In Baltic Amber, 40 Million Years Old
Spider In Baltic Amber, 40 Million Years Old
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Spider In Baltic Amber, 40 Million Years Old

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40 Million Year Old

Spider

In Baltic Amber

Amber from remote times has been called Lithuanian gold. The Baltic region of northern Europe is home to the largest deposits of amber. It is also called succinite because it contains about 8% succinic acid. Today it is estimated that these Eocene forest created more than 100,000 tons of amber.

It was thought since the 1850s that the resin that became amber was produced by the tree Pinites succinifer, but research in the 1980s concluded that the resin originates from several species. More recently, it has been proposed, on the evidence of Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy (FTIR) analysis of amber and resin from living trees, that conifers of the family Sciadopityaceae were responsible. The only extant representative of this family is the Japanese umbrella pine, Sciadopitys verticillata.

The Baltic region is home to the largest known deposit of amber, called Baltic amber or succinite. It dates from 44 million years ago (during the Eocene epoch). It has been estimated that these forests created more than 100,000 tons of amber. Today, more than 90% of the world's amber comes from Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia. It is a major source of income for the region; the local Kaliningrad Amber Combine extracted 250 tons of it in 2014, 400 tons in 2015.

Numerous extinct genera and species of plants and animals have been discovered and scientifically described from inclusions in Baltic amber. Inclusions of insects make up over 98% of the animals preserved in the amber, while all other arthropods, annelids, mollusks, nematodes, protozoans contribute less than 0.5% of the animals. Vertebrates are another 0.5% of the animals included and mostly are represented by mammal fur, feathers, and reptiles.

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