Avoiding Mass Extinction
Bees are having a tough time now days, there’s no argument there, but apparently they had an even tougher time 65 million years ago. According to a study done by scientists at UNH bees underwent a mass extinction right along with the dinosaurs. Previous studies have suggested a widespread extinction among flowering plants at the same time and it's been assumed that the bees who depended upon those plants met the same fate. Unfortunately, there aren’t the massive fossil records for bees like there are dinosaurs, which has made confirming such an extinction rather difficult. So, instead of studying just fossils, scientists combined their research with DNA analysis and found that “something major was happening in four different groups of bees at the same time, and that a mass extinction event signature in the DNA just happened to correspond to the extinction of dinosaurs.” This new research suggests that the bee extinction lasted roughly 10 million years. Researchers are hoping that this new information will help us learn from the past about how pollinators and plants respond to natural disturbances, and help us ward off a current day bee extinction; because as one famous person once said, “no bees, no pollination, no plants, no more man”.