Oct 20, 2020

This Gecko Trapped In Amber Is 54 Million Years Old, Still Looks Alive

 Every single time we see something similar to the dinosaurs or animals of that particular era — whether the sabretooth or mastodon — we always think about what our lives would be like with them (if we were to live along with them). We’ve seen the bones and skeletons of these animals, and often we’ve been lucky enough to see fossilised depictions of these animals, leaving much of their bodies unspoiled. And recently, when searching social media, we came across the picture of a gecko stuck in amber.

The gecko fossil was nothing like I’ve ever seen, with almost the whole body intact in the crimson-yellow block, with its scales plainly visible. Even Elon Musk commented on the article, saying, “This animal has been the test of time.” So I was interested to hear more about when this photograph was taken and whether it was 54 million years old. A little searching, and I found the research papers that illustrated this finding.

The finding was reported back in 2004 by scientists Aaron M Bauer from the Department of Biology at the University of Villanova, Wolfgang Bohme from the Alexander Koenig Museum and Wolfgang Weitschat from the University of Hamburg. The papers revealed that the fossil belongs to the early Eocene period. To the uninitiated, the Eocene Epoch or era ranged from 56 million to 33.9 million years ago.

According to the researchers, this gecko was caught in Baltic amber and was found in north-western Russia. They assert that this fossil is the earliest gekkonid lizard to be described by more than fragmentary skeletal remains. The digits of the specimen are largely unchanged and show a rare mix of characters not seen in any living form.

This essentially means that the geckos have been on this planet for millions of years and have survived whatever time has put in front of them to this day. How cool is that?

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