Colombian Copal is rather young compared with amber from the Baltic or from the Dominican Republic. But, it is a fact that the most fossiliferous “amber” originates in Colombia, albeit it has become fairly widespread that all fossil resin from Colombia is called copal.
Fact is, we have no dates or specific geological information on Colombian copal or Colombian amber. Because of it’s color and hardness, some scientists believe it may be Pliocene or Pleistocene, probably about 2 to 3 million years old, in some regions even up to 16 million years old, but in others much, much younger (Santander) and may only count with some thousands, or some hundreds of years.
The amber versus copal distinction is lost on many geologists and paleontologists that are aware that scientific data is unavailable to determine the age of fossil resins from this region. But you might find spectacular types and concentrations of inclusions in copal for less money and we can offer you copal that is loaded with fascinating inclusions for only a fraction of what you would pay for equal specimen in “old” amber.
Dr. Robert E. Woodruff, Emeritus Taxonomist, Florida State Collection of Arthropods writes: “Mankind (depending on the anthropologist’s definition thereof) has been on earth only 3-5 million years. Certainly the Olduvai specimens are fossils (both men & animals) and extremely valuable for study of human evolution. If we assume the Colombian amber is this recent, it still has extremely important value for those studying the fossils. Studies of biodiversity, biogeography, ecology, and evolution, all benefit from the scientific description of these amber fossils.
Age is relative, the old man said, but old is not necessarily better. To call the Colombian material anything other than amber is a misnomer! Logically, we should just call everything “resin”, with qualifying adjectives of origin or geological formation. I doubt that this would be acceptable to most “amber” dealers!”