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The BEEginnings of the Bee 14

KingArthur10 writes "The Register-Guard is reporting about the discovery of the oldest known relative of the insect providing sugary goodness to the world. From the Article: 'It's as old as the dinosaurs for sure, and just as extinct. As for size, well, the tiny fossilized bee recently uncovered by an Oregon State University scientist is decidedly unlike a dinosaur, but that hasn't kept it from becoming the buzz of the entomology world. That's because this little bee dates to 100 million years ago, making it the earliest known member of the insect line that later became today's familiar honeybee and the first to show signs that it pollinated flowers. It is helping cement the theory that bees long ago developed a taste for nectar and branched off from meat-eating wasps to pursue a life among the petals.'"
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The BEEginnings of the Bee

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  • "groan"...
  • by no reason to be here ( 218628 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @02:07PM (#16644789) Homepage
    "It says, 'Let's BEE friends'...and there's a picture of a bee!"

    I choo-choo-choose to post this logged in, thus risking my karma.

    Now here's a picture of a train.

              '( '
            "' //}
          ( ''"
          _||__ ____ ____ ____
        'U'0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  • by xC0000005 ( 715810 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @02:21PM (#16645075) Homepage
    Wasps still consume sweet liquids (primarily produced by the brood), wasps still consume (some) pollen. Bees still consume pollen as well but it is fed primarily to the larva, bees primarily live on nectar (not honey). Bee larva consume pollen but I'm curious how they would fare if they were fed masticated insects. The primary difference is in the behavioral wiring. Wasps retain the predator code of conduct, bees not so much.
    • by tf23 ( 27474 )
      I'm curious how they would fare if they were fed masticated insects

      So you think if they were fed masticated insects their behavior would change?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by xC0000005 ( 715810 )
        No, I believe instinct is largely hard wired (by definition, sort of, but not entirely - bees that have moving objects in front of their hives are less likely to zip out and confront you if you walk by, so some of that behavior can be desensitized). What I am curious about is whether or not the bee larva (normally fed pollen/nectar by the nurse bees after the first three days) could still subsist on the same material wasps feed the wasp larva. Probably not. It would be interesting though. My point was t
        • by jd ( 1658 )
          It would be much more interesting to know what would happen if you modified what was provided to the bee/wasp larvae on hatching. Presumably, there would be some change, as diet certainly alters how the brain develops in other animals. However, with such tiny brains and with much of it hardwired, it is unclear what's left to change. However, it can't be all hardwired, as bee dances can be "learned", so some dynamic structures must exist. How dynamic, though?

          It also makes me wonder about african bees. These

          • So, let's look at the variations that we know of that are food controlled:
            Workers, fed royal jelly for the first three days or so will be the baseline. After three days they are fed pollen/nectar mixture (sometimes called bee bread). This results in a generic worker with undeveloped ovaries. This worker will not take a mating flight and thus will only lay drones in the absence of a true queen.

            Queens, on the other hand, are fed continuously for the ten days that it takes them to develop. Raised in a long
  • Really trying to validate the Slashdot slogan aren't we?
  • Time for me to plug a writer I stumbled across recently-

    There's a beekeeper who posts on kuro5hin from time to time, his page [] is great for learning about bees. The guy's a great writer, my favorate story is 'Jose's Swarm', but they're all pretty good.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.