23-Million-Year-Old Lizard Fossil Trapped In Amber Discovered In Mexico

By Staff Writer | July 08, 2013 07:33 PM EDT

23-million-year-old complete fossil of a lizard trapped in amber was discovered by scientists in Mexico. It is a new species that has been entombed in the small piece of resin since prehistoric times.

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The amber-trapped fossil of a lizard contains soft tissues of the new species of the genus Anolis and was found in Chiapas, Mexico in the the Simojovel amber deposits.

The 28-million-year-old lizard fossil, trapped in a fossilized amber deposit, is "a complete and articulated animal that also preserves remains of soft tissue and skin," Francisco Riquelme, who worked on the project at the National Autonomous University of Mexico's Physics Institute.

The lizard is approximately 1.8 inches by .5 inches and is trapped inside a trapezoid-shaped piece of amber sap.

The lizard fossil is on display at the Amber Museum in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico.

Preliminary results found the lizard is part of a a new species of the genus Anolis. Anolis has nearly 400 species, and some can even change their color depending on their surroundings.

The date of the amber deposit was used to determine the approximate age of the ancient lizard fossil in amber.  Carbot, director of Chiapas' Paleontology Museum, told press that the age of the amber where the lizard specimen was found dates back to at least 23 million years ago.

230 million-year-old mites discovered in northeastern Italy were the oldest animals found preserved in amber resin.



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