The amber was found in the Dominican Republic and measures just slightly over one inch tall. It was sold in auction for $6,000.
We get a glimpse of what life meant a million years ago in the form of fossils and even cave paintings that are left behind. But time stands still in amber. The oozing tree resin freezes life in it and preserves it for millions of years. We have witnessed tiny insects and even bigger reptiles that stood still in amber. They are a fascinating chunk of the past that will continue to survive well after we are gone. Avid collectors buy these amber pieces and splurge huge amounts of money on them as well. They then become a neat piece of display or even a part of our off-beat jewelry collection.
Embedded in one such clear solidification of the tree resin is a praying mantis. Standing in attention, the mantis is frozen in time from sometime between 23 million to 33.9 million years ago. The transparent amber is in an almost pristine condition and gives us a clear view of the mantis inside. It was found in the Dominican Republic and measures just slightly over one inch tall. According to My Modern Met, this particular piece was sold on Heritage Auctions for $6,000 in 2016. The amber from the Dominican Republic is known as Dominican resin, which is best known for its clarity and a high number of inclusions.
The Heritage Auctions official description of the amber states: This small lozenge size piece of Amber is water clear and pale yellow which makes it very easy to see the amazing ("praying") mantis preserved forever inside. The creature with its triangular head, bulging eyes, and flexible neck is clearly visible in the exceptional specimen of the fossilized tree resin. The insect with the unique characteristics is poetically singular in the otherwise pristine fossil remnant. A close-up photo of the bug gives further insight into this entombed mantis. This is a tiny specimen with a major inclusion.
If you think this piece is neat, the owner is actively responding to offers of $8,190 or above. The site also features another praying mantis in Dominican amber. But this piece is golden-reddish which "contains various inclusions and detritus, a singular large insect is readily visible in the centre of a naturally fractured core." This unique amber also has the makings of a collectible and the auction for it is on starting at $1,625 or more. The site also features other rare and stunning amber with praying mantis frozen in them, which you can check here.
"The fossil record of mantises is very rare and fragmentary, with no more than two dozen species known worldwide," Xavier Delclòs, a lecturer of paleobiology at the University of Barcelona told Live Science. "However, the few specimens found help us understand how the evolution of this group of insects is closely related to cockroaches and termites." During the Jurassic age, tiny insects and other bigger animals became engulfed in glops of sticky amber and stayed there. It is a viscous liquid that becomes solid upon fossilization, trapping whatever creatures that get stuck in the substance. They remain preserved until researchers discover the critters millions of years later.
Earth Archives states that amber, unfortunately, does not preserve DNA. But the amber has still helped change our views of the evolution of many smaller beasts because of amber’s remarkable ability to preserve. Skin, scales, fur, and feathers are just some of the incredibly detailed features found frozen in amber.