©Leif Brost

Stories millions of years old, preserved in amber

Insects and spiders living on the forest floor millions of years ago got entrapped in sticky resin. Today, the resin has hardened to amber and these ”frozen dramas” are visible like a window to the past.
Some inclusions may have ended up together by accident, others because of their behaviour. Mating couples fell into the resin. Parasites or predators were trapped together with their victims. Half of the insects were feeding on other insects. Spiders on the forest floor were hunting with or without a web. Small mites clung to their hosts as parasites or to move to a new location. Ants were caught while tending their lice and plants.

Some samples of these behaviours from the past are perfectly preserved in three dimensions. Life and behaviour in these 25-40 million year old amber pieces show that these insects were very similar to today's.

There are hundreds of different kinds of amber found all over the world. The oldest is about 225 million years old. The most well known sources are found in the Baltic Sea region and in the Dominican Republic in the West Indies. Fossil evidence shows that the oldest insects already existed 350-400 million years ago. They have since come to dominate the world in both species and numbers. There are 200 million insects to each human. We humans, just newcomers, are only about a million years old.

Copies of the exhibition can be ordered for display in your museum, showroom or elsewere, for details click here.


Drawings made by: Jakob Sunesen and Bente Vita Pedersen

Photos by: Leif Brost

Copyright ©Leif Brost, 2015. All rights reserved.