Strange fossil may be rare insect preserved in gemstone

IN A FIND unlike anything seen before, a piece of opal from the island of Java in Indonesia holds some remarkable cargo: a stunningly preserved insect that may be at least four to seven million years old.

Previously, plenty of ancient insects have been found in amber, a gemstone made of fossilized tree resin. When animals became encased in the fresh resin, it entombs them rapidly enough to preserve the remains, often with exquisite detail. (See a dinosaur-era bird found preserved in amber.)



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