the terpenoid composition of seven amber samples from araripe basin (santana formation, crato member) has been analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to determine their botanical origin. the diterpenoids, which have been identified in the fossil resin extracts are derived primarily from the abietane class, e.g., dehydroabietane, 4-epidehydroabietol, 16,17,18-trisnorabieta-8,11,13-triene, 7-oxo-16,17,19-trisnorabieta-8,11,13-trieno, dehydroabietic acid, ferruginol, hinokiol and hinokione. their composition is certainly typical for conifers, and angiosperms can be excluded as the botanical source, as no triterpene was identified. the terpenoid characteristics strongly support a relationship to the araucariaceae or podocarpaceae families. in addition, the fossil record of the embedding sediments (pollen and fossil leaves) also supports the proposal of these paleobotanical origins for the ambers.