Dinosaur Carving in Amber - The Greeks called amber "elektron," or “made by the sun.” Homer praised its bright glow. The Egyptians buried it in tombs for the afterlife. Today’s scientists value amber too: it provides a three-dimensional window into prehistoric ecosystems through the myriad animal and plant inclusions it contains.
Preserved in amber, this species of Metalmark butterfly has been dated to about 20 million years in age. This butterfly was found in the Dominican Republic and is now extinct in modern times. However it does have a close living relative: Voltinia danforthi of Mexico. This living species is a sister species to the 15-25 million year old fossil and each is the closest relative to the other. Photo by Kristen Gilpin