I love science!


A piece of amber 15 to 20 million years old, found in the Dominican Republic, contains a perfectly-preserved bee within it. The news seems to be all about the fossilized orchid pollen on the insect's back, and how it demonstrates that orchids were around during the age of the dinosour, but for me the wonder begins with the integrity and beauty of the carcass of this incredibly ancient worker bee; it would look as good had it been alive until a few minutes ago. It's also interesting to think about how much better this gal is doing than any of those Pharohs who were buried, what, a couple seconds ago?

For the science geeks, the biologists tell us that although the pollen and its carrier are only 15 to 20 million years old, they were able to use their examination of the pollen and a molecular-clock analysis to estimate the age of the orchid family, which they date to about 80 million years ago, some 15 million years before the extinction of the dinosaurs. Okay, that's pretty cool too.

No wiggle room for the creationists there.

CORRECTION: I've been reminded [see comment] that worker bees are in fact female; I have accordingly corrected a noun used in the text above. My apologies and my respects to a very long line of exquisite creatures.

[image of Santiago Ramirez from Reuters via the Globe and Mail]

Remarkable, indeed, James. What a great picture, too.

As a little side note, though, worker bees are all female, so it's not a "fellow," but a "gal." ;)