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Amber taphonomy and collecting biases

Edward M. Pike
Amber taphonomy and collecting biases
Palaios (October 1993) 8 (5): 411-419


Taphonomic processes affecting samples of amber inclusions are outlined. Comparison of traditional collecting methods dependent on human recognition of amber nodules (hereafter called picking) with bulk sampling, screening and salt water floatation indicate that significant amounts of amber are overlooked by traditional methods. Picking over-represents large nodules and under-represents small ones. This is significant because small nodules produce the highest number of inclusions per kilogram. Although small nodules have the lowest trapping efficiency, this liability is more than compensated for by their abundance and high proportion of external flows. Bulk screened samples produce more inclusions per kilogram of amber with lower between-sample variation. The proposed sampling method, if universally applied, would eliminate investigator bias in amber samples and establish a baseline for standardizing quantification of amber faunas. Bulk sampling and assessment of diversity per kilogram of amber allow more accurate estimation of total arthropod fauna through taxon/mass curves. Completeness of sampling can be estimated through evaluation of standard errors of species abundance as mass of amber increases. Consequently, community structure and organization can be more accurately described and compared with extant communities or other amber faunas, and changes in terrestrial arthropod diversity over time can be more accurately measured.

ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 8
Serial Issue: 5
Title: Amber taphonomy and collecting biases
Author(s): Pike, Edward M.
Affiliation: University of Calgary, Department of Biological Sciences, Calgary, AB, Canada
Pages: 411-419
Published: 199310
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 54
Accession Number: 1995-011320
Categories: General paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 5 tables, sketch map
N49°00'00" - N60°00'00", W120°00'00" - W110°00'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 199505
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