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Lebanese Amber

The Oldest Insect Ecosystem in Fossilized Resin

George Poinar Jr. and Raif Milki

6 × 9 inches. Illustrated with 90 color and B&W photographs. Map. Bibliography. Index. 96 pages.

2001. ISBN 978-0-87071-533-4. Paperback, $19.95.

One of the earth's oldest natural treasures, Lebanese amber, which contains the earliest known representatives of many insect groups, unlocks the secrets of a little-known world populated by dinosaurs, pterosaurs and cycads. Dating back some 135 million years to the early Cretaceous, the amber was formed in a wet, tropical kauri pine forest long before Earth's continents reached their present positions.

This extensively illustrated book, the first major review of Lebanese amber, covers all aspects of this rare and highly valued resin, including its origin and its role as a commodity in ancient cultures. The authors discuss each plant and animal fossil thus far recovered from the amber, including nematodes, snails, mites, spiders, and insects, and the earliest complete feather. many of the fossils are represented in color and black and white photographs.

Paleotologists, biologists, and evolutionists will appreciate the book's new information, along with its summary of early research and its analysis of how amber fossils can increase our understanding of insect diversification, biogeography, extinction, and survival. With its information on the origins, characteristics, and ancient uses of Lebanese amber and other Near Eastern resins, the book will appeal to readers of natural history and gem collectors as well.

In the hands of Dr. Poinar and Dr. Milki, who have long shared a passion for these little-investigated deposits, Lebanese Amber presents a powerful, exquisitely detailed portrait of an ecosystem that, without them, might have remained lost to us forever.

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