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Lemonade from Broken Amber

Scientists pick up the pieces and move on to termite discoveries

By
11:51am, March 26, 2002

As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. So, what should you do if you suffer the misfortune of dropping a fragile, 20-million-year-old piece of amber that entombs a perfectly preserved fossil termite? If you're evolutionist Lynn Margulis, you mutter a mild curse, pick up the clear, yellow pieces–each of which holds half of the termite–and squeeze some unscheduled science out of the mishap.

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