50 million year old snake preserved in amber.
Ancient Amber - baby snake -50 million years old!....WOW!
Hoax or Fact:
The wonderful picture in circulation online for more than 2 years now seems to show a 50 Million year old Snake Preserved in Amber! Today, we are going to analyze the authenticity of the claim.
What is Amber
Amber is a kind of fossilized tree resin, millions of years old, and is appreciated for its color & natural beauty since ages; it is considered as a high valued antiquity gemstone at present. Amber comes in a variety of colors, usually pale orange, and also available in other colors like white, yellow, cherry red, green, dark brown, black and rarely blue.
Ancient Insects Preserved in Amber
It is a fact that some remarkable creepy crawlies from ancient times have been found fossilized in amber. One such fossilized amber of spider attack on prey (wasp) caught in its web was reported in August 2012 -- it was around 97-110 million years old, when dinosaurs are believed to be wandering. As you can see in the second picture in Image Gallery, the wasp was watching the spider just as it was about to be attacked, when the tree resin amber flowed over and captured & preserved both of them. Scientists also found 3 well-preserved ancient insects fossilized in amber in Italy, which were said to be about 230 million years old (pictures in Image Gallery).
The current picture in question has been circulating online through Pinterest posts, blogs and also on reddit.com. The source of the picture appears to be a 20th March 2011 off topic post on Warrior Forum website warriorforum.com, where the user says he came across one such sale (not authenticating it is real amber encasing a snake).
The picture appears on fake and forgeries amber website laboutiqueajacques.com and also on a ggeology Tumblr page ggeology.tumblr.com, where a later edit mentions it as a forged piece of amber. If the amber that flowed over the snake was real, then the snake would have reacted and could not have settled in a round coil position as seen in the picture. Moreover, the 'amber' gemstone encasing the preserved snake is too good in appearance to be real, even if it is polished. So looks like, the snake was already dead (or a look-alike) and kept in that position before pouring the artificial resin or some other material.
The current claim that 50 million year old snake is preserved in amber is therefore a hoax. Like with most gemstones, such imitations of amber (artificial resins) are available in the market, also with lizards, insects and others. So it is important to test the genuineness of amber gemstones that you come across.