According to a new study, the unknown event that killed off the dinosaurs millions of years ago could be the same event that wiped out ancient bees as well.
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire were examining DNA from four types of carpenter bees from every continent when they noticed something strange. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Marvin Smith)
The study’s lead author told LiveScience, “We can track periods of diversification and stasis … There was a period where there was no genetic diversification happening for millions of years — a real dearth of speciation. This is an indication of a mass extinction event.”
That period lines up almost exactly with the time scientists believe the dinosaurs disappeared.
And the researchers predict 90 percent of the bee species that existed at that time went right along with them. (Via University of New Hampshire)
The UNH researchers didn’t study possible relationships between the bee and dinosaur extinctions, but they say the timing might speak for itself.
The new findings suggest the ancient bees were extinct for about 10 million years before bees as we know them today came into existence. (Via Daily Mail)
On top of learning more about the extinction of ancient bees, scientists hope this study will help shed some light on the current decline in bee species around the world.
The growing absence of bees is threatening crops that are reliant on the creatures for pollination. (Via YouTube / MrWallybutler)
The study’s lead author is calling the results “unprecedented.” She says the next step is to study other bees to find out which species were survivors.