A tiny praying mantis is embedded inside a clear piece of amber, poised and frozen in place. Just over one inch tall, the item sold for $6,000 in 2016 at Heritage Auctions. This beautiful mantis may be seen in perfect detail in the Dominican Republic amber.
The extinct Hymenaea protera, a prehistoric leguminous tree, is where the amber itself is derived. The resin is where Central and South America’s amber is primarily found. Dominican resin, or amber from the Dominican Republic, is renowned for its purity and substantial amount of inclusions.
The object in question is estimated to be between 23 million and 33.9 million years old by Heritage Auctions, who dates it to the Oligocene epoch. The transition from the prehistoric Eocene to the more advanced ecosystems of the Miocene period, which lasted until 5 million years ago, is a crucial one. Amazingly, the actual mantis doesn’t seem all that different from what we see now.
Overall, mantises exist in over 2,400 species, most of which are found in tropical settings. However, the oldest mantis fossils, dating back 135 million years, are from Siberia, which is significantly colder now. Even mantises with spines on their front legs, like contemporary mantises, may be seen in certain early fossils. Whoever purchased this amber piece brought home a fascinating artifact of human evolution that they can admire every day.