Nature's Embalmers at Your Service
Amber may be the best natural preservative, but it's not the only one. The following mechanisms, operating alone or in concert, have also preserved interesting finds from the ancient world, generally by making life miserable for decay organisms.
This feather, identified as a member of the woodpecker and flicker family, was discovered in Dominican Republic Amber. It represents the oldest-known fossil of a New World woodpecker. Photograph by Laurie Minor-Penland. Courtesy National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.