9. Ancient Tree Frog Found Encased in Amber
A miner from Mexico
's Chiapas state made the find of a lifetime—a tiny tree frog preserved in amber that could be 25 million years old—a scientist announced in February 2007 (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 a 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.
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."
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Photograph by Gerardo Carbot-Instituto de Historia Natural y Ecologa/AP