Photo in the News: Ancient Tree Frog Found Encased in Amber

Frog in amber photo
Email to a Friend


February 17, 2007—A miner from Mexico's Chiapas state has made the find of a lifetime—a tiny tree frog preserved in amber that could be 25 million years old, a scientist recently announced (map of Mexico).

The block of amber, or fossilized tree resin, encasing the 0.4-inch (1-centimeter) frog was unearthed in 2005 and sold to a private collector, according to the Associated Press (AP). The collector then lent the piece—seen in this photo released on February 14—to scientists.

The specimen appears to belong to the genus Craugastor, said Gerardo Carbot, of the Chiapas Natural History and Ecology Institute, who has been studying the find. This genus includes many modern frogs native to Central America.

The frog's age has yet to be authenticated. But it was recovered from earthen deposits dating back 25 million years to the Oligocene epoch, Carbot told the AP.

Now Carbot hopes to make the plot of Jurassic Park a reality by drilling a small hole into the amber and attempting to extract DNA from the encased animal.

But "I don't think [the stone's owner] will allow it," Carbot told the AP, "because it's a very rare, unique piece."

—Aalok Mehta

More Photos in the News
Today's Top 15 Most Popular Stories
Free Email Newsletter: "Focus on Photography"

NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




ADVERTISEMENT

 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.