NOT QUITE FROZEN IN TIME: WINDOWS INTO THE INTERNAL TAPHONOMY OF FOSSILS IN AMBER VIA MICROCT-SCAN TECHNOLOGY
Unfortunately, without early replacement by stable minerals, all things are fated to decay—albeit at different rates. Amber is no exception. However, without slicing into the beautiful amber-preserved fossil, it is impossible to know exactly what is going on inside.
Micro-CT scanning provides an excellent way to see inside the fossil without destroying it. Without the amber stabilizing the internal tissue, it is subject to the forces of microbial decay, dehydration, and resin infiltration. Using fossil amphipods (Crustacea, Amphipoda) from the Chiapas Amber of Mexico, we show how a superficially perfect specimen can have a surprising lack of correspondence between the preserved insides and the original internal anatomy. Micro-CT scanning offers a new way to think about the microenvironment inside of an amber-preserved fossil.