Scientist have uncovered a 100 million-year-old bee, encased in amber. Possibly the oldest bee ever found, it was discovered by University of Oregon zoology professor George Poinar. Poinar discovered the bee in the Hukawng Valley of northern Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Along with the bee, four types of flowers were also preserved.

The bee Poinor discovered is not related to the honey bee we know today and is classified as a male Melittosphex burmensis. The bee has a heart-shaped head, the narrow hind leg characteristics of meat-eating wasps and branched hair on the body, a key feature of pollen-spreading bees. At only one-fifth the size of the bees we know today, this Melittosphex burmensis is miniscule in comparison. It is thought this branch of bees went on to become extinct and is considered an evolutionary dead end.

An article on the discovery will appear Friday (Nov 3) in the journal Science.

Read the article in the New York Times

Be Sociable, Share!