30 Million-Year-Old Bee and Flower Fossil Found

Amber has a great value for science because the things trapped in it can still be preserved to the present day without deteriorating at a level that can be studied even after millions of years. Earlier, we told you about insects, dinosaur fossils and even crabs that emerged hidden in amber.

Amber patterns can also imprison living things while they are forming, making it easier for us to shed light on the past in today’s science. Another new amber mold was discovered in an excavation carried out within the scope of researches on the prehistoric period.

A prehistoric flower, a fly and a wasp

The work is about George Poinar, who inspired Jurassic Park with his research to extract the DNA of the beetle from Dominican amber. Poinar’s latest research revealed the first fossil of the plant genus Plukenetia. “The fossils of members of this plant family are quite scarce, I’ve only been able to find one plant fossil before,” says Poinar.

Famous Dominican amber is a fossilized resin from the extinct Hymenaea protera tree, which scientists think once thrived in a humid tropical forest ecosystem. The newly discovered flower, fly and wasp fossil was also found in a Dominican amber.

The specimen you see in the photo above was unearthed in the mountain region of la Cordillera Septentrional. In the studies carried out on the sample, it was diagnosed that the fossils were dated 30-45 million years ago.

As you can see, Poinar’s only discovery is not the plant, but also a bee. Contemporary members of the genus Euphorbia (living relatives of the fossilized plant) are pollinated by small wasps, so this wasp is thought to play a similar ecological role.

The fossilized wasp Hambletonia Dominicana, discovered and named by Poinar in 2020, is an acetic wasp with a clump of parasites known to lay its young with eggs or larvae of smaller insects that become food for the developing young wasp.

Using high-resolution imaging, Poinar also noticed damage to a tiny gall mosquito (Cecidomyiidae) larva and the mosquito’s ovarian capsule inside one of the flower’s developing seeds. Poinar speculates that after the wasp hatches, it may be attracted to the infected flower to lay an egg that will soon parasitize the gall mosquito larva.

However, a sticky drop of resin apparently spoiled all the plans of the bee, and a picture emerged in which this trio had been stuck for millions of years. What are you thinking? Please do not forget to share your ideas with us in the comments.