Study of Biology, Taxonomy and Evolution have benefited immensely from the amber preserved fossils.
Because of this we have a valuable record of the organisms which lived in the Earth's past. Although considered a gem , amber is a wholly- organic material derived from the resin of extinct species of trees. Eventually when the trees died and over millions of years sank into the coal bed, the tree sap hardened and formed amber stones. Amber has been carved into beads for jewelry and ornaments. However, it is valued highly by the scientists for it's preservative properties. The resin overtime polymerizes and any living thing that got trapped in it is successfully preserved.
Modern scientists have collected valuable information about extinct species since amber fossils are three -dimensional with life - like colors and patterns. Even the internal structures of the cells may stay intact. Insects caught in amber resin have been found in active poses, along with their predators, prey and with internal and external parasites. Intact frogs, lizards, snake skins, hair, bones and blood of mammals, plants, leaves , spores and pollen , hair from dinosaurs called "dino fuzz", have been discovered in amber, opening to us a window into our primitive world of unknown genera of fossilized organisms.
Baltic amber is formed from a particular type of pine- Pinus succinifera and is called succinite. Geological knowledge of each fossil resin is important to their botanical classification. Even when the fossil resin comes from the same plants, it might be different since it got fossilized in different conditions.
Also, in order to be more accurate a place name is also given to amber fossils such as Baltic amber, Siberian amber, Spain amber, Dominican amber or New Jersey amber etc.
Kochenite, from Kochental ( a valley in Tyrol, around Innsbruck, Austria) is another variety of Amber found here. Spider beetles, belonging to Genera Ptinus have been found in Baltic amber more than a century and half ago. The amber of this coniferous tree belonged to early Tertiary (about 70 million) years ago.
Lyme disease is caused by ticks carrying Lyme disease bacteria- Borrelia burgdorferi. We recently have gained new insight and information about the bacteria and it was found preserved in amber. In 2014, Oregon State University researchers working on amber samples from the Dominican Republic and discovered ancient ticks infected with the bacteria, remarkably similar to modern Borrelia. Ticks were dated back to 15-20 million years and indicate that even our early ancestors had to deal with conditions similar to Lyme disease.
Insects as old as 20 million years old believed to have roamed the earth alongside dinosaurs and before the ice age three million years ago have been found. Last year, researchers found fossilized tobacco in the northern Amazon establishing that the plant dates back to the Pleistocene Era, 2.5 million years ago and that it originated in northeastern Peru.
There is a controversy if DNA can be extracted from the fossilized organisms and compared with that of its modern day counterparts. This concept was the basis of the movie "Jurassic Park" where the idea of extracting dinosaur DNA from blood eaten by mosquito and cloning new dinosaurs was used. A 46 million year old fossilized mosquito found by an amateur fossil hunter in Montana contains the blood of an unknown ancient creature. Scientists used x-ray spectrometry and found the abdomen full of iron which is what you would expect from blood. With mass spectrometry, the presence of heme, the compound that gives red blood cells their distinctive color and allows them to carry oxygen throughout the body was found. However, it was not possible to say which creatures blood was preserved in the mosquito's abdomen. That's because the DNA degrades quickly to possibly survive 46 million years of being trapped in amber ( or stone). Assembling a full genome from DNA fragments requires us to have an understanding of what the whole genome looks like and turning it into a living breathing animal would require putting that DNA into an ovum of a living species closely related to the mystery creature that we do not know about.
With improvements and advances in techniques and technologies perhaps some day a Dino park may become a reality.
If you want to buy a real amber jewelry there are two tests for it. Real amber floats in salt water and if you touch a hot needle to the surface of amber bead the smell should be pine-like.