bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oldest bee discovered

A 100 million year old bee has been discovered in amber. With some waspish features, it's regarded as much closer to a bee and is 35-45 million years older than any other known fossilised bee.

The bee was discovered in a mine in the Hukawng Valley of northern Burma and has been named Melittosphex burmensis. It's surprisingly well preserved in the tree sap and very tiny (3mm) -- supporting the notion that the early flowers which emerged after the dominance of conifers about 100 million years ago were also very small.

George Poinar, professor of zoology at Oregon State University, US, reported the discovery in the journal Science.



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