The mines of northern Myanmar – also known as Burma – have been producing amber for thousands of years. What one miner found encased in a piece of rock in 2015, however, was truly unique. In fact, to the surprise of international scientists, he had unearthed the remains of a never-before-documented prehistoric creature.
Made of tree resin which has hardened over time, amber is a semi-precious gemstone that has long been used in jewelry. And, as anyone who has seen Jurassic Park knows, it can sometimes contain fossilized prehistoric insects such as mosquitos. What this piece of Burmese amber contained, however, was even more amazing than that.
Also known as “burmite,” Burmese amber was formed in the Cretaceous era. Starting 145 million years ago, the epoch lasted some 79 million years and saw the evolution of a wide variety of species. However, it ended with a violent extinction event that wiped out three quarters of the Earth’s species.