Oise amber (pronounced [waz] (listen)) is a type of amber found near the Oise river near Creil in northern France.[1] Oise amber is around 53 million years old, dating to the Early Eocene (Ypresian).[2] Oise amber is softer than Baltic amber, although Oise amber is older and both types of amber have similar geographic origins.[1] The formation is known for preserving a diverse fauna of invertebrates.

The Elektroepyris magnificus holotype specimen antenna in dorsal view in Oise amber


In the late 1990s, an amber deposit was discovered by French entomologist Gael De Ploëg near Creil at Le Quesnoy, close to the Oise river in France.[2] The sediments containing the amber were found at the bottom of quarries used for sand and gravel extraction. The Oise amber deposit had more than 20,000 arthropod inclusions to date. In 2000, pollen was extracted for the first time from Oise amber.[1] Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, it was then discovered that the amber contained a unique compound, quesnoin, which was similar to fresh resin from a modern tree found in the Amazon, Hymenaea oblongifolia, suggesting that the amber may have been produced by related trees.[3][4]


The amber originates from the Argiles d'lignite du Soissonnais, which forms part of the stratigraphy of the Paris Basin. The strata form channels cutting into the underlying marine deposited Late Paleocene (Thanetian) aged greensand. The main lithologies of the beds are lenticular bedded bodies consisting of clay rich sand. These are divided into two subfacies, the first of which contains pyrite-rich lignite, as well as amber, the other contains proportionally less lignite, as well as remains of terrestrial vertebrates.[1] The deposit also contains the remains of many coprolites.[2]


Oise amber tends to be a very clear yellow, and pieces of Oise amber are usually a few centimetres long. In every flow of Oise amber, there is usually at least one inclusion.[1] The amber is of angiosperm origin, with the source tree dubbed Aulacoxylon sparnacense, which is thought to be a member of Fabaceae.[3][5]


The amber shows a high diversity of invertebrate fauna.[1][2] The most diverse group of insects are Coleoptera (beetles) and Psocoptera, representing 21% each of collected insect specimens as of 2009, followed by Hymenoptera at 16%, Diptera (flies) at 12% and Hemiptera at 10%.[2] However, Oise amber as of 2010 has fewer described species than Baltic, Dominican or New Jersey ambers.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Penney, David (2010). Biodiversity of Fossils in Amber from the Major World Deposits. Siri Scientific Press. ISBN 978-0-9558636-4-6. Archived from the original on 18 February 2023. Retrieved 9 February 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f BRASERO, NEL, MICHEZ, Nicolas, André, Denis (2009). "Insects from the Early Eocene amber of Oise (France): diversity and palaeontological significance" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 March 2022. Retrieved 13 January 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b Jossang, Jean; Bel-Kassaoui, Hakima; Jossang, Akino; Seuleiman, Mannan; Nel, André (1 January 2008). "Quesnoin, a Novel Pentacyclic ent -Diterpene from 55 Million Years Old Oise Amber". The Journal of Organic Chemistry. 73 (2): 412–417. doi:10.1021/jo701544k. ISSN 0022-3263. PMID 18154348. Archived from the original on 13 January 2023. Retrieved 13 January 2023.
  4. ^ Fountain, Henry (15 January 2008). "55-Million-Year-Old Trail Yields Identity of Amber Producer". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 13 January 2023. Retrieved 13 January 2023.
  5. ^ Nohra, Youssef A.; Perrichot, Vincent; Jeanneau, Laurent; Le Pollès, Laurent; Azar, Dany (26 June 2015). "Chemical Characterization and Botanical Origin of French Ambers". Journal of Natural Products. 78 (6): 1284–1293. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00093. ISSN 0163-3864. PMID 26070107. Archived from the original on 4 February 2023. Retrieved 4 February 2023.