Thursday, December 14, 2006

Triassic Microbes In Amber

A microworld in Triassic amber. 2006. A.R. Schmidt et al. Nature: 444: 835.

Abstract: Amber provides an effective medium for conservation of soft-bodied microorganisms, but finds older than 135 million years are very rare and have not so far contained any microbial inclusions. Here we describe 220-million-year-old droplets of amber containing bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoans that are assignable to extant genera. These inclusions provide insight into the evolution and palaeoecology of Lower Mesozoic microorganisms: it seems that the basal levels of food webs of terrestrial communities (biocoenoses) have undergone little or no morphological change from the Triassic to the Recent.

More info from National Geographic News.