A new amber outcrop has been discovered in northern Lebanon containing fossils dating back more than 120 million years.
The discovery was described in an article published Friday morning in the scientific journal Palaeoentomology by Dr. Sibelle Maksoud, Dr. Dany Azar and Khaled Taleb was released.
Amber is petrified tree resin that sometimes contains well-preserved biological inclusions such as animal and plant material that go back millions of years.
The new outcrop was found in a sandstone quarry in the village of Mechmech in the Akkar district of northern Lebanon, where relatively large pieces of yellow, transparent pieces of amber were collected.
According to the paper, 4 fossil insects – 2 same-sex flies of the same species, a cockroach larva and a wasp – were found in the amber fragments obtained from a single amber pebble.
The male fly (A) and the wasp (B).
The outcrop is from the Barremian (about 129 million years ago – 125 million years ago) and is chemically similar to the previously discovered Lebanese amber of similar age.
Notably, the sample containing the female fly was found to be divided into two parts due to natural stretching.
The stretch, the paper suspects, is likely the result of a forest fire that melted the resin. The presence of soot and wood fragments in the stretched sample and in other samples support this hypothesis.
The female fly.
It’s also worth noting that this outcrop is “the most septentrional outcrop with fossil biological inclusions like insects,” says Dr. Dany Azar across from The961.
“We have already discovered 24 other outcrops with biological inclusions that are distributed throughout Lebanon,” explains the professor at the Lebanese University, who heads the International Paleontomological Society and the Lebanese Paleontological and Evolutionary Association.
To date, 450 amber outcrops have been discovered in Lebanon, of which, according to Dr. Azar had only 25 biological inclusions.
In light of the discovery, the paper highlights the urgent need for the Lebanese authorities to protect the mechmech site and suggests that failure to do so could easily lead to the disappearance of the volatile site and its treasures.
* The images used in this article belong to the Akkar Trail.