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Encased within the smooth chunk of amber is the body of a tiny young tropical frog. Scientists say the diminutive critter, measuring less than an inch long, lived about 99 million years ago before it became entombed in sticky tree sap. At the time, dinosaurs still roamed the Earth.

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Scott Wing had spent more than a decade in the badlands of Wyoming's Bighorn Basin, most of it thirsty, sunburned, and down on his hands and knees, digging endlessly through the dirt. But he had never found anything like the fossil he now held in his hand - an exquisitely preserved leaf embossed on beige rock. Wing let out a jubilant laugh as he uncovered a second fossil and then a third. Each leaf was different from the others. Each was entirely new to him.

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Fossil beds in Saltville

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