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 Post subject: BURMA PRODUCES 100 MILLION YEAR OLD BEE IN AMBER
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:01 am 
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Associated Press --
A scientist has found a 100 million-year-old bee trapped in amber, making it possibly the oldest bee ever found.

"I knew right away what it was, because I had seen bees in younger amber before," said George Poinar, a zoology professor at Oregon State University.

The bee is about 40 million years older than previously found bees. The discovery of the ancient bee may help explain the rapid expansion and diversity of flowering plants during that time.

Poinar found the bee in amber from a mine in the Hukawng Valley of northern Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Many researchers buy bags of amber from miners to search for fossils. Amber, a translucent semiprecious stone, is a substance that begins as tree resin. The sticky resin entombs and preserves insects, pollen and other small organisms.

Also embedded in the amber are four kinds of flowers. "So we can imagine this little bee flitting around these tiny flowers millions of years ago," Poinar said.

An article on his discovery will appear Friday in the journal Science, co-authored by bee researcher Bryan Danforth of Cornell University.

In the competing journal Nature this week, there is an article about the unraveling of the genetic map of the honeybee. The recently completed sequencing of the honeybee genome already is giving scientists fresh insights into the social insects.

Poinar's ancient male bee, Melittosphex burmensis, is not a honeybee and not related to any modern bee family.

The pollen-eating bee has a few features of meat-eating wasps, such as narrow hind legs, but the body's branched hairs are a key feature of pollen-spreading bees.

The bee — about one-fifth the size of today's worker honeybee — has a heart-shaped head.

But the ancient bee was probably an evolutionary dead end and may not have given rise to modern bees, scientists said.

"It's exciting to see something that seems so different from what we think of as modern bees," Danforth said. "It's not an ancestor of honeybees, but probably was a species on an early branch of the evolutionary tree of bees that went extinct."

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 Post subject: Re: BURMA PRODUCES 100 MILLION YEAR OLD BEE IN AMBER
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:09 am 
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That certainly supports the theory that bees evolved from wasps. The carnivorous wasp evolved into a vegetarian nectar sucking bee. Some flowering plants depend totally on bees for pollination. So flowering plants and bees must have evolved together in the Cretacerous period. The bees were much smaller then.

This link has a picture of many small bees in Mexican amber. The dead give away they are bees is the distinct antennas

http://www.mexicanamber.org.uk/amber7.php

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 Post subject: Re: BURMA PRODUCES 100 MILLION YEAR OLD BEE IN AMBER
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:12 pm 
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davegibson wrote:
That certainly supports the theory that bees evolved from wasps.

Possibly, but in my opinion it's more likely they evolved in divergent fashion from a common ancestor as humans and apes did. It's certainly true that as pollinators bees played (and play!) a crucial role in plant evolution.

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 Post subject: Re: BURMA PRODUCES 100 MILLION YEAR OLD BEE IN AMBER
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:38 am 
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Hi Rick,

I have just finished reading Chris Stringers new book "The origin of our species". I could not draw any conclusions from it. :roll:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/15/chris-stringer-origin-our-species-review

Here is an interesting debate between David Grimaldi(of the American Museum of Natural History) and George Poinar regards the evolution of insects from research into inclusions in amber.

http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/a-letter-from-david-grimaldi-and-michael-engel-regarding-george-poinars-review-of-evolution-of-the-insects

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 Post subject: Re: BURMA PRODUCES 100 MILLION YEAR OLD BEE IN AMBER
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:24 pm 
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Dave, here's more info on the Myanmar bee in amber:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061209083342.htm\

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061025181534.htm

Danforth and Poinar have provided evidence that bees and wasps share an evolutionary link but I've seen nothing to indicate bees evolved directly from wasps.

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 Post subject: Re: BURMA PRODUCES 100 MILLION YEAR OLD BEE IN AMBER
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:30 pm 
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ROM wrote:
Dave, here's more info on the Myanmar bee in amber:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061209083342.htm\

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061025181534.htm

Danforth and Poinar have provided evidence that bees and wasps share an evolutionary link but I've seen nothing to indicate bees evolved directly from wasps.


Hi Rick, thats got me thinking. I wonder if butterflies did directly evolve from moths Here is some interesting information on Burmese amber.

http://home.fuse.net/paleopark/burmite-team.htm

Scientists like David Grimaldi and George Poinar now have access to a large supply of burmese amber from the Cretaceous period. Before this there was a limited supply of Cretaceous amber as it is very rare. Because of this much research into insects and plant inclusions in Cretaceous amber has taken place recently. Much new information is now coming out on the evolution of insects and plants.

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 Post subject: Re: BURMA PRODUCES 100 MILLION YEAR OLD BEE IN AMBER
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:13 pm 
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There are many unique things being found in Cretaceous Burmese Amber. Among them are rare feathers, such as this one, with amazing detail preserved.

Image

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