by Shireen Gonzaga
One hundred million years ago, a bee got trapped in tree resin. Over time, geological forces converted the resin to amber. Now a scientist arrives on the scene, to tell us this bee’s story.
About 100 million years ago, a female bee with young beetle larvae crawling all over her body flew haplessly into a glob of sticky tree resin where she became trapped. Over time, the resin fossilized to become amber, preserving the bee and its parasites in exquisite detail within the clear honey-colored rock. As rare as it is, this fossil bee isn’t the first to be found entombed in amber. But it is the only known known amber-encased bee that has pollen on it. And it’s the only fossil bee with parasites, providing a fascinating glimpse into a predator-prey relationship that continues to this day. And the entomologist who studied this doomed bee? He is George Poinar Jr. of Oregon State University (OSU), whose work helped inspire the movie “Jurassic Park.”
Poinar’s work also showed that the bee – which he named Discoscapa apicula – belonged to a new family, genus, and species. ….
* THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.