Inclusions in copal

Colombian amber was NOT the inspiration for the Hollywood movie “Jurassic Park”. The amber used was Dominican Amber.

But, it is a fact that the most fossiliferous amber originates in Colombia, albeit it has become fairly widespread that all fossil resin from Colombia is called copal.

The amber versus copal distinction is lost on many geologists and paleontologists that are aware that scientific data is unavailable to determine the age of fossil resins from this region. The consensus age estimate seems to be Pleistocene (up to 2 million years old), but estimates range to the Lower Miocene (about 20 million years old).  

Dr. Robert E. WoodruffEmeritus Taxonomist, Florida State Collection of Arthropods writes: “Mankind (depending on the anthropologist’s definition thereof) has been on earth only 3-5 million years. Certainly the Olduvai specimens are fossils (both men & animals) and extremely valuable for study of human evolution. If we assume the Colombian amber is this recent, it still has extremely important value for those studying the fossils. Studies of biodiversity, biogeography, ecology, and evolution, all benefit from the scientific description of these amber fossils. 

Age is relative, the old man said, but old is not necessarily better. To call the Colombian material anything other than amber is a misnomer! Logically, we should just call everything “resin”, with qualifying adjectives of origin or geological formation. I doubt that this would be acceptable to most “amber” dealers!”

 Therefore, you might find spectacular types and concentrations of inclusions in copal for less money and we can offer you copal that is loaded with fascinating inclusions for only a fraction of what you would pay for equal specimen in “old” amber.

What kinds of inclusions can be found?

Of course, the most common inclusions are termites, sometimes swarms of them.


But you might also discover plant inclusions, like roots and bark and other kinds of insects, like:

  • Beetles
  • Bees
  • Mosquitoes
  • Grasshoppers
  • Planthoppers
  • Leafhoppers
  • Cicadas
  • Aphids
  • Ants
  • Flees
  • Fireflies
  • Ticks
  • Butterflies, Moths
  • Crickets
  • Cockroaches
  • Centipedes
  • Millipedes
  • Barklice
  • Thrips
  • True Bugs
  • Lacewings
  • Dusty-wings
  • Beetles
  • Scorpions / pseudo-scorpions
  • Spiders
  • Webspinners
  • Mantises
  • Flies
  • Fireflies
  • Wasps