DescriptionSPECTACULARLY RARE - A LARGE LIZARD PERFECTLY PRESERVED IN PREHISTORIC AMBER
Anolis dominicianus ?
This extremely rare and scientifically important specimen is the largest lizard ever found in amber. In fact, it is the largest complete animal ever discovered in amber and among the finest fossil vertebrates known to exist.
Amber is the common name for fossilized tree resin, or sap, which seeping from the trunks and branches of prehistoric flora 30-90 million years ago would occasionally trap an unwitting insect in its slow but sticky and inexorable path. Such specimens are highly prized, for, distinct from fossils; they represent the incredible preservation of a life form physically unchanged over millions of years. Almost unheard of, however, is for a nugget of amber to contain an animal as large and spectacular as the 3 ½ inch long lizard we have here. Only a handful of geckos and lizards have been discovered preserved in this way, making this specimen one of the very rarest prizes on the Natural History market. Held suspended in its golden cage, it could almost be swimming, and so perfect is the state of preservation - every detail of the skin and the muscle structure beneath, the articulation of the digits and their protruding claws, is as clearly visible as it would have been in life.
It is likely that this lizard perished prior to falling into the tree sap as evidenced by signs of decay. A few insects are present and clearly visible inside this specimen including 3 ants and 4 small flies, which were probably attracted by the scent of the lizard. This large polished amber nugget is stable, though there are a few hairline fractures which have been reinforced. The lizard measures 3 ½ inches in length with curved tail and the amber measures 3 ½ inches long.
This extraordinary specimen was examined and authenticated by Dr. George Poinar, retired Professor of Entomological Sciences at the University of California, Berkley. Dr. Poinar is a world renowned authority on amber and the fossils found within, having authored more than 40 scientific papers on amber and several books. The present specimen has been published in 2 of Dr. Poinar's books, one of which, "The Amber Forest, A Reconstruction of a Vanishing World", is included with this lot.
Estimate: $90,000 - $110,000.
Condition report available upon request.
*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.
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