These fossil insects which I found in central NJ are from the Turonion period of the Upper Cretaceous, about 92 Million years old. The insects in amber from this site are among the oldest found in the world. Recent finds from New Jersey include the oldest mushroom, the oldest flower in amber, the oldest ants, and the oldest feather from a terrestrial bird in North America. Biting insects have also been found, making extraction of dinosaur DNA a possibility.
|A leafhopper. Note the airbubbles, some of which also contain water.|
The amber from New Jersey tends to be found mostly as small pieces, and it is commonly cloudy or even opaque. However, most of the insects inclusions are new to science, making it very significant to researchers. They are currently under study by Dr David Grimaldi of the American Museum of Natural History. Along with the amber is found the well preserved leaves and wood of various trees and shrubs. Although the tree responsible for the amber hasn't been positively identified, it is believed to be related to the cedar family. Myself and several other collectors found a single lignitized log with thin layers of amber within the wood. Analyzing this wood might determine the species of the amber tree.
|A very well preserved midge|
|An unidentified insect, possibly a wood-boring beetle|
Unlike localities like the Dominican Republic where the amber containing layers are rock, the clay and lignite is soft and unconsolidated, so it can easily be dug using shovels and trowels. Paleontologists recently excavated the site using heavy equipment, recovering a considerable amount of amber.
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