Scientists in Mexico have discovered a 23-million-year-old lizard fossil encased in a chunk of amber, according to a report from Mexican language paper La Jornada. The lizard, believed to be of the genus Anolis, was found in mines in Simojovel Township, northern Chiapas, according to paleontologist Francisco Riquelme of the Institute of Physics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
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23 million-year-old lizard fossil encased in amber. Photo courtesy La Jornada Facebook page.
According to Riquelme, the lizard is "a complete and articulated animal that also preserves remains of soft tissue and skin." It measures about 1.8 inches by 0.5 inches.
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Amber, which is fossilized tree resin, is often found with plants and insects encased in it but it is rare to discover a complete vertebrate. According to the report, the lizard is only the second anole found in amber and was dated based on the age of the amber. The specimen is currently on display at the Amber Museum in San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico.