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A Substance Like Nothing Else on Earth

Dec 31, 2019 | 72 videos
Video by The Atlantic

Amber is precious, but it’s not a gem. It’s fossilized tree resin—a substance that forms over millions of years, capturing ancient detail as the sap oozes. Amber specimens have led to a “mind-blowing” number of scientific discoveries, the writer Katharine Gammon says. “The amount of detail you can get in fossilized specimens inside the amber is eons ahead of other types of fossils.”

Why, then, has one scientist called for an ethical moratorium on the mining of amber?

For more, read Gammon’s article “The Human Cost of Amber.”

Life Up Close is a project of ​The Atlantic​, supported by the HHMI Department of Science Education.

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Author: Elyse Kelly

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