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Amber, from the Giant to the Minuscule

The extraction of coal from the largest lignite mine in Spain, located in Teruel, had exposed a vast fossil section from the Lower Cretaceous. From 2010 to 2020, a palaeontological team was able to access and work on a 600,000 m2 layer which contained several animal and plant fossils that lived over 110 million years ago. In this giant deposit, 161 fossil areas were located from which they recovered over 10,000 vertebrate animal remains, many of them from previously unknown dinosaurs.

This enormous site, contains, as well, thousands of minuscule deposits, almost unnoticeable when huge amounts of rocks are removed to extract coal or when digging in the search of fossils of large vertebrates. We face small fragments of amber which contain inside everyday scenes from Cretaceous, like ancient still pictures.

Alongside the remains of countless insects and arachnids, the Ariño amber provided three hair samples from a small mammal that represents the oldest known discovery of fossilized hair in amber, to this day.

The most colossal of sites, kept a snapshot into time, like a Cretaceous Pompeii, capturing the delicate rest of a tiny mustelid-like mammalian ancestor.

  • Luis Alcalá
  • Javier Trueba
  • Fundación Dinópolis
    Fundación Conjunto Paleontológico de Teruel-Dinópolis
  • Luis Alcalá
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  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 38 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 24, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    3,500 USD
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Director Biography - Luis Alcalá, Javier Trueba

- Director of Fundación Conjunto Paleontológico de Teruel-Dinópolis and Director of Museo Aragonés de Paleontología (Aragón Government, Spain) since 2002.
- Researcher of the Spanish Public Organisms of Research since 2002.
- Director of the Research Group FOCONTUR - Continental Fossils from Teruel- (Aragón Government, Spain) since 2004.

- Ph.D. Geology (Palaeontology), University Complutense of Madrid, Spain (1992).
- M.Sc. Geology, University of Granada, Spain (1982).

- Geologist in the Spanish Geological Survey (1984-1985).
- Palaeontologist in the National Museum of Natural Sciences of Spain (1985-2002).
- Head of Exhibitions and Public Programs in the National Museum of Natural Sciences of Spain (1998-2002).
- Associate professor in University of Zaragoza (2008-2010).

- Geoscientist of the Maestrazgo European & Global Geopark (2009-2016).
- Member of the Coordination Committee of the European Geoparks Network (2009-2016).
- Catalyst of the Thematic Group on Fossils of the European Geoparks Network (2011-2014).
- Member of the Advisory Committee of the European Geoparks Network (2013-2016).
- Member of the Advisory Committee of the Global Geoparks Network (2013-2016).
- Coordinator of the Comité Español de Geoparques (Spanish National Geoparks Forum/Committee (2014-2016).
- Member of the Global Geoparks Network Association since 2015.
- Member of the Roster of UNESCO Global Geoparks Evaluators since 2015.
- Member of the IUCN-WCPA Geoheritage Specialist Group since 2016.
- President of the Spanish Society of Palaeontology (2003-2006).
- Vicepresident of the Association of Science and Technology Museums and Centres of Spain since 2019.

- Co-editor of the scientific journal Journal of Taphonomy.
- Director of the publication series ¡Fundamental! 33 issues since 2003.
- Director of the weekly section Fundamentos paleontológicos and Geopark Corner (Diario de Teruel), 500 issues (2003-2013).
- Palaeontological blog Blogosaurio (EL MUNDO) http://www.elmundo.es/blogs/elmundo/blogosaurio/ (2013-2017).
- Director of the International Award on Paleontological Research Paleonturology, since 2003.
- Director of the National Radio-station section Lógica Paleontológica, Radio Nacional de España.
- Co-founder of Geódromo (The Turolian Week of Earth Sciences) and Geolodía (The Spanish Day of Geology).
- Director of Summer Courses Palaeontology and Development, Summer University of Teruel, University of Zaragoza, since 2004.
- Director of palaeontological research projects in Teruel (since 1991) and Peninj (Tanzania) (1995-2005).

- Author or co-author of:
* More than 70 research papers published in journals indexed in the Science Citation Index, and many research papers published in other journals and books.

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