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Lizards trapped in amber for 100 million years amaze scientists

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posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 12:24 PM
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Lizards trapped in amber for 100 million years amaze scientists
www.digitaljournal.com...


(picture taken from lizards stuck in amber)


Climbing around in an ancient forest, a tiny chameleon became caught and died in the sticky resin of what was likely a coniferous tree. Over time, the resin fossilized, turning into amber and leaving the lizard beautifully preserved.

The dime-sized chameleon is 78 million years older than the previous specimen on record, and it, along with 11 more amber encased lizards were harvested from a mine in Myanmar several decades ago...

These remarkable fossils give scientists clues to the "missing links" in the evolutionary history of lizards...

"The fossilized amber provides a view into a lost world, revealing that the tropics of the Mid-Cretaceous contained a diverse lizard fauna,"...The tiny chameleon appears to be a transitional form between the "standard" lizard form and modern chameleons...noting "that features like the chameleon's projectile tongue was present deep in its ancestry."

"But its strange fused toes (adaptations for climbing along branches) evolved later."

In the case of the gecko in amber, the fossil shows that this group had highly advanced adhesive toe pads, which are used for climbing, and this suggests it's an adaptation that originated earlier, Phys.org notes. Modern geckos have these toe pads and they are excellent climbers.




Lizards stuck in amber 99 million years ago offer interesting information about their evolution
mainenewsonline.com...


Stanley said that the amber-preserved lizards were having toe-pads that were more similar to the living geckos that suggest that even 100 million years back, geckos already had evolved tools to stick up on surfaces.



Another interesting point noticed by researchers was that a specific type of lizard was in the progress to become a chameleon. The specimen, which was less than half an inch long had probably hatched eggs before it died.

From its CT scan, it was found that the specimen was having a skeleton akin to modern chameleons and had features more like other lizards. “It's this interesting sort of halfway stop between a modern chameleon and the sister group to chameleons, which are the dragon lizards”, affirmed Stanley.

The fossils also offered other clues into the lizards’ lives. The researchers said that amber produced from tree resin can only form in forested regions therefore the animals must have been spending a lot of time around trees.




posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 12:29 PM
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It is interesting to hear how evolution plays a role in the animal kingdom and to be able to see that from fossils is truly a unique opportunity.

As with learning about the some lizards were in the evolutionary stages in morphing into the chameleon...to escape the predators.

This is definitely a cool find



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 12:34 PM
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Very nice find!

That is a substantial addition to the Chamaeleonidae ancestral line! A 78 million year older specimen is just absolutely massive in terms on knowledge gains. Very interesting indeed!

I know what new fossilized amber specimen I want to add to my collection for my birthday next month!



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 12:41 PM
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a reply to: Skywatcher2011

You mean there aren't any amber baby T Rexs? Amazing how much these '78 million' year old specimens look just like lizards today. Amber has preserved insects like ants, mosquitos and plants that show these life forms haven't changed much in all that enormous expanse of time.



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 12:46 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Skywatcher2011
Amazing how much these '78 million' year old specimens look just like lizards today. Amber has preserved insects like ants, mosquitos and plants that show these life forms haven't changed much in all that enormous expanse of time.


Indeed! Once a good Morphological form has evolved, it tends to stick around. It's fascinating just how long some physical attributes stays so similar.



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 12:50 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147


Once a good Morphological form has evolved, it tends to stick around.

You said "evolve", not me. 'Sticking around' during extinction level events (ELEs) presents a quandary… no?



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 12:51 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Ghost147


Once a good Morphological form has evolved, it tends to stick around.

You said "evolve", not me. 'Sticking around' during extinction level events (ELEs) presents a quandary… no?


When mass extinctions occurred it didn't kill every single organism on earth. So no, it's not a problematic event for the concept



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 12:58 PM
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originally posted by: Ghost147

originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Ghost147


Once a good Morphological form has evolved, it tends to stick around.

You said "evolve", not me. 'Sticking around' during extinction level events (ELEs) presents a quandary… no?


When mass extinctions occurred it didn't kill every single organism on earth. So no, it's not a problematic event for the concept


Cheeryo, in the case of large impactors, ELE's are certainly consistent with destroying all life. From making the oceans too alkaline, to covering the earth with a blanket of dust and toxic fumes, making the air unbreathable for Flora and Fauna, to freezing everything in a blanket of ice due to blocking the suns light.



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 01:05 PM
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originally posted by: Ghost147
Very nice find!

That is a substantial addition to the Chamaeleonidae ancestral line! A 78 million year older specimen is just absolutely massive in terms on knowledge gains. Very interesting indeed!

I know what new fossilized amber specimen I want to add to my collection for my birthday next month!


I would actually love to have a small amber specimen on a necklace myself. That would definitely be a cool present!



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 01:06 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr

originally posted by: Ghost147

originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Ghost147


Once a good Morphological form has evolved, it tends to stick around.

You said "evolve", not me. 'Sticking around' during extinction level events (ELEs) presents a quandary… no?


When mass extinctions occurred it didn't kill every single organism on earth. So no, it's not a problematic event for the concept


Cheeryo, in the case of large impactors, ELE's are certainly consistent with destroying all life. From making the oceans too alkaline, to covering the earth with a blanket of dust and toxic fumes, making the air unbreathable for Flora and Fauna, to freezing everything in a blanket of ice due to blocking the suns light.


Don't get me wrong, I understand that an event could occur where all life on earth dies. I'm just saying there hasn't been such an event yet that had killed everything.

There are certainly extinction events that nearly achieved that, but none that literally killed every single organism.

The lifestyles of mammals, for example, gave them an advantage when the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck the area that is today's Yucatan peninsula about 65 million years ago. mammals that used burrows or lived in aquatic environments would have been shielded from the intense heat that briefly followed the impact. Once the heat was off, mammals could come back out and make the most of the remaining food resources. There may not have been enough food for dinosaurs, but the more generalized tastes of mammals allowed them to hang on.

The same goes for other smaller creatures, or organisms that lived in areas that also weren't as affected by the impact.

You can read more about the subject Here if you're interested



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 01:06 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Skywatcher2011

You mean there aren't any amber baby T Rexs? Amazing how much these '78 million' year old specimens look just like lizards today. Amber has preserved insects like ants, mosquitos and plants that show these life forms haven't changed much in all that enormous expanse of time.



The amber caught insects, plants, and small creatures mostly on or around the base of the tree. Hard to see a baby t-rex get sapped up for its size haha



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 01:12 PM
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originally posted by: Skywatcher2011

originally posted by: Ghost147
Very nice find!

That is a substantial addition to the Chamaeleonidae ancestral line! A 78 million year older specimen is just absolutely massive in terms on knowledge gains. Very interesting indeed!

I know what new fossilized amber specimen I want to add to my collection for my birthday next month!


I would actually love to have a small amber specimen on a necklace myself. That would definitely be a cool present!


I have my eye on a few smaller insect amber inclusions, but nothing as substantial as a lizard... yet! Only because they can cost thousands and thousands of dollars.

However! the insect one's are quite inexpensive. You should check out some of these websites if you're interested

www.ambericawest.com
www.truebalticamber.com
www.amberabg.com/

This one with a small gecko inside of it sold for $5900




posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 03:55 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147


There are certainly extinction events that nearly achieved that, but none that literally killed every single organism.

Yah but, but… how did lizards re-evolve, regrow after such an event to the same looking things? The boundary layer of tritium that extincted the cretaceous left nothing in its wake, the layer of charcoal is round the world.

Literally everything burned, the carbon and ash raining down everywhere. If we presume evolution begins anew after such an els, then we must find different organisms than the ones living back then, not the very same ones.

Lizards, insects and plants preserved in amber tell us that trees and forests and wildlife flourished before and after… so what gives?



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 03:57 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

I had a lizard in amber necklace I found in a curbside recycle program once. Sold it for a few bucks at the flea mkt. back when, before I realized what I had…

…serves me right. Puny humans.



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 04:08 PM
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a reply to: Skywatcher2011

Excellent post OP. It is amazing how the Earth just keeps on giving us the means to understand our past. I have a question, given that previous finds in amber have presented the hope of preserved DNA, have they tried with this batch?

Sadly from what I understand, no usable DNA has ever been extracted from fossils preserved in amber so far.




posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 04:26 PM
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I skimmed the article but can someone explain to me why there isn't some leftover cloudiness where flesh used to be?

I would have assumed it was mummified, as in all moisture leeched out and left a calcified husk of leather and bones? Interesting nothing leaked out and mixed with the amber while it was still liquid, or did it just mineralize and go transparent?

ELI5?
edit on 382016 by Butterfinger because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 09:00 PM
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Fascinating! I have seen pics of insects and plants in amber, but never a lizard! That was a wonderful find! Thanks so much for sharing this!!!!



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 09:17 PM
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Excellent picture of the Earth's past. I wonder if any "Germs" are still in the carcass?

I always remember David Atten-Bros program of ancient life on Earth.
He referenced the Australian Lungfish, an ancient living fossil still found today.....
Apparently the Lungfish species... is over 300 Million years old.
The Lungfish was already developed 100 Million years BEFORE the Dinosaurs even arose......
Yet here it still exists, basically identical to its origin.....un-evolved after all this time....OR
Evolved to such an extent, it is already perfect for its intended purpose.....which is, live in pools and mud creeks after floods, during wet periods, and exist in a stasis in parched waterless earth/dirt during dry periods.....Fascinating, but illogical Captain.
.
edit on 8-3-2016 by gort51 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 09:42 PM
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intrpt

Yah but, but… how did lizards re-evolve, regrow after such an event to the same looking things?


They didn't. The only ELE event inbetween then and now was the Cretaceous-Paleogene event.... Quite simply, this lizard's branch of the family tree was not wiped out.

A simple review of its evolutionary trail would likely make this clear.

There are many fossilized creatures who do not exist today. Many of them perished during ELEs, while many others were simply outcompeted for resources by more adept challengers.




Literally everything burned, the carbon and ash raining down everywhere.

No, everything did not literally burn. As has been explained previously, many animals survived the Yucatan impact.



If we presume evolution begins anew after such an els, then we must find different organisms than the ones living back then, not the very same ones.

Evolution did not "begin anew." For animals that survived the Yucatan impact, new biological niches were opened up by the sudden vacancy of competition. As a result, mammals in particular flourished.



Lizards, insects and plants preserved in amber tell us that trees and forests and wildlife flourished before and after… so what gives?

Perhaps you could pick a specific organism that you believe was wiped off the face of the earth and then re-evolved into the same (or a very similar) creature and we could trace its evolutionary history together using online resources. I think you'll quickly find there is no quandary.
edit on 8-3-2016 by Greggers because: (no reason given)

edit on 8-3-2016 by Greggers because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 8 2016 @ 11:11 PM
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a reply to: Greggers

Hi Greggers, welcome to ATS!


Perhaps you could pick a specific organism that you believe was wiped off the face of the earth and then re-evolved into the same (or a very similar) creature and we could trace its evolutionary history together using online resources. I think you'll quickly find there is no quandary.

Unlike bits of fossilized bone, Amber proves to us that many organisms remain unchanged and survive, how do we account for that? Honey bees are preserved in amber, they are sensitive to the environment.

I think we have differing views of how impactors may affect the environment globally. The boundary layer at Cretaceous is just one known event.



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