Indian Amber Fossils Shed Light On India's Past

Hundreds of bugs fossilized in 330 pounds of amber in India show that the subcontinent did not evolve in isolation, as had previously been thought, according to

Geological evidence shows that the landmass had been drifting independently for about 100 million years at the time, but the organisms in the amber are closely related to other species found in northern Europe, Australia, New Guinea and tropical America, the researchers report online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The 700 bugs, as well as flowers and other plant life, were discovered in India's Gujarat province by an international team of fossil hunters. The huge find is one of the largest amber collections in the world. The bugs were entombed about 52 million years ago, before India collided with Asia, reports the Guardian.

The bugs are remarkably well-preserved, and are the oldest evidence of tropical forests in Asia. Scientists now speculate that forests may have once covered most of the subcontinent.