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6 exquisite specimens of natural history set to sell Jan. 18

Natural history specimens of Earth and sky, some millions of years old, representing beautiful science will come before bidders Jan. 18 during an auction presented by Heritage Auctions.

When was the last time you paused for a moment to take in the beauty that is nature? Some of the smallest minerals, fossils, and gems of natural history present a beauty that seems almost larger than life. 

Natural History Offerings

On Thursday, Jan. 18, Heritage Auctions is bringing to auction a small, but fascinating selection of these specimens of nature, during its Thursday Internet Natural History Auction. Below are six specimens from this auction that captivate my attention. They also leave me wondering how much they will during the sale. Plus, reading the descriptions in the auction catalog takes me back to the science classes of my youth. 

Hymenaea protera

Hymenaea protera

This piece of fossilized tree resin, in a rich amber form, is stunning not just for its color, but also for its 'residents'. Within the Hymenaea protera specimen are winged termites and ants, flies and wasps, all preserved in this prehistoric item of nature. Discovered in the Dominican Republic, it measures 2.35 x 1.16 x 0.56 inches and weighs 14 grams. According to the catalog description, the specimen dates to the Oligocene Epoch, part of the Paleogene Period, which took place 33.9 million to 23 million years ago. 

Agatized coral

Agatized coral

Specimens from Earth and Sky

There are so many fascinating elements of this specimen, it's hard to believe it's naturally formed. But it is, and it appears to possibly have been formed in North America, as it was discovered in Florida. This example of agatized coral measures 7 inches in diameter, with a intriguing view of a subtle brown, almost caramel in color, crystallization. If you look closely, you'll also see hints of blue and purple hued aspects of this fossil. Ironically, the exterior of this fossil is almost the opposite of the warm and delicate-appearing face. 

Shark tooth

Carcharocles megalodon

Even though it's less frightening examining a shark's tooth when it's not attached to a living and breathing dominator of the deep, there's no question that sharks are an impressive species. This Megalodon shark tooth relays that message without question. In a unique twist, the tooth appears to be more brown in color rather than black, as one might expect with a fossil of this type. According to the catalog description, the tooth (Carcharocles megalodon) was discovered near the Morgan River in South Carolina, and reportedly dates back to the Miocene geological period, which occurred 23.03 to 5.33 million years ago. 

Petrified log

Petrified conifer log

Time Travel Through Fossils

You never know what you'll find when perusing a Natural History auction. Case in point, this petrified conifer log. The log, measuring a substantial 9.65 x 6.97 x 5.71 inches, provides a unique peek at the inside of this ancient log. It dates back to the Triassic period in geological history, which spans from 251 to 199.6 million years ago. The specimen hails from the notable collection of Lewis Goodman. 

Azurite & Malachite specimen

Azurite & Malachite specimen

This rock, discovered in the Hubei Province of China, contains pronounced blue Azurite copper mineral crystals as well as muted green copper carbonate hydroxide mineral Malachite nestled in crevices throughout. The hefty example measures 5.61 x 4.22 x 3.09 inches. 

Ordinary chondrite

Ordinary chondrite

Last, but certainly not least, is this meteorite specimen. The piece presents an obvious fusion crust and weighs in at a considerable 322 grams. The specimen's fall to Earth was witness on Nov. 20, 2016 in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

View the entire selection of lots and check out additional upcoming auctions presented by Heritage Auctions,

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