Researchers recently discovered that today’s bee populations are not the first to succumb to environmental changes. Their studies reveal that along with dinosaurs, a species of carpenter bees was completely wiped out 65 million years ago. By studying this historic extinction, the researchers hope to find meaningful ways to prevent the current decline that threatens several bee species throughout the globe.
A report published this week in PLOS ONE details the decline of carpenter bees between the Cretaceous and Paleogene eras, when the mass dinosaur extinction is believed to have occurred. This decline in pollinator population makes sense since many flowering plants also went extinct at the time.
In order to study the ancient bee decline, researchers headed by Sandra Rehan, Michael Schwarz and Remko Leys at Flinders University in Australia used molecular phylogenetics to analyze DNA sequences in 230 carpenter bee species around the world. This genomic data coupled with fossil records revealed parallels between what four different groups of bees and the dinosaurs underwent amid environmental changes 65 million years ago.
Via Phys Org