Amber piece with lizard inclusion

Inclusion [Lat. Inclusus - closed, surrounded] is any material that is trapped inside a transparent mineral during its formation, for instance, insect in the piece of amber. Inclusions are found not only in amber, but also in the other fossil resins. Canadian siderite, Siberian Arctic cretaceous retinitis, Alaska retinitis, French resins, simetita of Sicily, Austrian Eocene resins etc. – inclusions are found in all these territories.

Amber is essential for science because of preserved fossils of flora and fauna found in it. Inclusions of amber are like pictures taken 50 million years ago which allow us to get acquainted with the minor fauna, its behaviour, interaction with other species, also receive information about plant species and climate at the time. Most inclusions are found in transparent and layered amber. Although internal organs of surviving organisms are mostly disordered, the structure of their surface is visible to the smallest details. Therefore scientists are able to identify existed living organisms, explore their evolution.

Adhesive resin was the best trap for insects, arachnids, millipedes. Molluscs, fragments of vertebrates, lizards were also trapped in the resin. Arthropods contain the largest part of inclusions. About 80 percent of them are flying insects. A unique piece of amber with the lizard inclusion (Lat. Lacertidae) is in exhibition of Palanga Amber Museum. There are only several examples of such inclusions worldwide.

Inclusions of amber are an excellent material to monitor the behaviour of diverse species and their interactions, e.g. spiders catching their prey and knitting their nets could be seen. Entire swarms of flies, mosquitoes, termites trapped in to resin during the mating. Scientist discovered that there were lice in mammalian hair 50 million years ago! Fragments of timber, mosses and lichens, fossils of barks, needles of trees, various blossoms are found in amber too. Pieces of plants contain 0.4 % of all inclusions. In the inclusions pieces of oak florets hair have been found, thus indicating that resin dropped onto the ground during the oak blooming season and that the forest was mixed at the time.

Palanga Amber Museum has one of the largest and most scientifically valuable collections of inclusions worldwide with almost 15 000 objects gathered in this particular collection.