Fossils Found in Amber

Fossils Found in Amber

Amber found at Cedar Lake, Manitoba, is famous as a source of fossil insects of Late Cretaceous age (about 78-79 million years old). Strangely, this amber originated far from Manitoba!

Amber, a fossil tree resin, has long been prized as a gem, and it provides immense evidence about the ancient world. Most amber comes from softwood trees, which produce abundant resin as protection from wood beetles; the sticky resin captures insects and other small creatures.

View through a microscope looking at a circle of pieces of gold-orange amber, lit from below.

Cedar Lake amber came from trees that grew near what is now Medicine Hat, Alberta, on a warm floodplain inhabited by dinosaurs! Amber is very light and is easily transported. The amber now at Cedar Lake was eroded from sedimentary rock, and transported by the Saskatchewan River. It was deposited where the flow of the river slowed: at Cedar Lake, where it is incorporated into beaches. This material, found in Manitoba, tells us about insects that lived 1000 km away!

Learn more in the Earth History Gallery.

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