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1 Burnside Nature Studies- Central and South America

The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World

by

The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Jurassic Park, amber fossils provided the key to bringing dinosaurs back to life. Scientists in the movie extracted dinosaur blood from mosquitoes preserved for millions of years in amber--hardened tree resin--and used the blood's DNA to revive the creatures that terrified audiences around the globe. In this book, George and Roberta Poinar use amber for a similar act of revival--only they bring back an entire ecosystem. The Poinars are world leaders in the study of amber fossils and have spent years examining the uniquely rich supply that has survived from the ancient forests of the Dominican Republic. They draw on their research here to reconstruct in words, drawings, and spectacular color photographs the ecosystem that existed on the island of Hispaniola between fifteen and forty-five million years ago. The result is the most accurate picture scientists have yet produced of any tropical forest of the past.

The specimens examined by the Poinars reflect amber's extraordinary qualities as a medium for preservation. Millions of years ago, countless plants, invertebrates, and small vertebrates were trapped in the sticky resin that flowed from the trees of ancient forests and, as that resin hardened into translucent, golden amber, they were preserved in almost perfect condition. Samples analyzed and illustrated here include a wide range of insects and plants--many now extinct--as well as such vertebrates as frogs, lizards, birds, and small mammals. There are even frozen scenes of combat: an assassin bug grappling with a stingless bee, for example, and a spider attacking a termite. By examining these plants and animals and comparing them to related forms that exist today, the authors shed new light on the behavior of these organisms as well as the environment and climate in which they lived and died.

The Poinars present richly detailed drawings of how the forests once appeared. They discuss how and when life colonized Hispaniola and what caused some forms to become extinct. Along the way, they describe how amber is formed, how and where it has been preserved, and how it is mined, sold, and occasionally forged for profit today. The book is a beautifully written and produced homage to a remarkable, vanished world.

Synopsis:

"The authors demonstrate great knowledge of many fascinating biological and socioeconomic aspects of amber. They write well and convey their enthusiasm for the subject with skill. The book is engaging and educational."--Peter Grant, Princeton University, author of Ecology and Evolution of Darwin's Finches

"The book provides a clearly written summary of the biota of the Dominican Amber deposits, with a focus upon the insects."--Bruce H. Tiffney, University of California, Santa Barbara

Table of Contents

Preface i

Acknowledgments xi

Prologue xiii

1. Introduction 3

From Where and Whence 3

Why Select Amber for Study? 8

How Biased Are Amber Samples? 9

Structure of Tropical Forests 11

2. The Amber Forest 13

The Plants 13

Plant-Feeding Insects 46

Aquatic Biota 87

Social Insects 97

Predators 129

Parasites and parasitoids 133

Vertebrates 153

3. Reconstruction of the Amber Forest169

General Conclusions 188

4. Amber Today 189

Handling, Photographing, and Preserving Amber 189

Amber Imitations and Forgeries 191

Tissue Preservation and Ancient DNA in Amber 193

Appendix A. Frequency of Organisms in Dominican Amber 197

Appendix B. Biota. in Dominican Amber 199

Chapter References 215

Index 229

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691028880
Subtitle:
A Reconstruction of a Vanished World
Author:
Poinar, George O., Jr.
Author:
Poinar, George
Author:
Poinar, Roberta
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J. :
Subject:
History
Subject:
Paleontology
Subject:
Ecology - Ecosystems
Subject:
Paleoecology
Subject:
Dominican Republic
Subject:
Amber
Subject:
Amber fossils
Subject:
Paleoecology -- Dominican Republic.
Subject:
Life Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems
Subject:
Biological Sciences.
Subject:
Earth Sciences
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Publication Date:
19990808
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
170 color plates, 190 halftones, 28 line
Pages:
292
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 30 oz

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Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Geology » Paleontology
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Central and South America

The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World Used Hardcover
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$14.95 In Stock
Product details 292 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691028880 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

"The authors demonstrate great knowledge of many fascinating biological and socioeconomic aspects of amber. They write well and convey their enthusiasm for the subject with skill. The book is engaging and educational."--Peter Grant, Princeton University, author of Ecology and Evolution of Darwin's Finches

"The book provides a clearly written summary of the biota of the Dominican Amber deposits, with a focus upon the insects."--Bruce H. Tiffney, University of California, Santa Barbara

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