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The taphonomic influences upon fossil faunas are generally assumed to be substantial, but in amber they have been little investigated. By comparing the inclusions in Tertiary amber from the Dominican Republic (Smithsonian Institution's Brodzinsky-Lopez Peña collection) with modern insect populations sampled using various methods and from different habitats, it is possible to test taphonomic hypotheses that bear on interpretations of amber faunas. The biota trapped in amber is here viewed as analogous to modem faunas sampled with man-made traps. Using cluster analysis (Manhattan and Euclidian distance measures -UPGMA clustering algorithm) to compare faunas, the amber-trap fauna is most closely reproduced by present day collection using emergence traps and also shows a strong similarity to the fauna of pitfall trap samples. Faunal dissimilarities indicate that the utility of Dominican Republic amber fossils is limited for ecological studies of the canopy and shrub layers of forests, or of the Orders Coleoptera, Diptera or Hymenoptera. Similarities between modern faunas and the amber fauna allow predictions about the ecological setting of Tertiary amber production: this is indicated as primary rain forest, with regenerating patches of secondary growth, in a low-altitude riparian location. □Amber, Dominican Republic, Palaeogene, ecology, taphonomy.