Researchers Create 3-D Model of Ice Age Baby Bee Fossil

Researchers Create 3-D Model of Ice Age Baby Bee Fossil

Novel CT scanning and infrared technique has helped scientists in California to get detailed images of an Ice Age bee, preserved in a nest of ancient leaves. The fossil of the bee was discovered for the first time in Los Angeles' La Brea tar pits in the 1970s, but the analysis of the fossil at that time by hand was a bit challenging task.

With the help of the techniques, researchers have also been able to create a 3-D model of the pupae made of 2,172 scanned slices.

The Megiachile gentile's specimen, a species of bee that's still alive today, dates back to between 23,000 and 40,000 years. The complete analysis of fossil has helped researchers at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to reveal that the bees are among few species that benefit from global warming.

They found that the bee population continues to increase with increase in the temperatures. La Brea Tar Pits is known as the world's richest and most important Ice Age fossil locality illustrating link between climate warming and the evolution of Ice Age predators. Along with fossils of bee, researchers have also found fossils of a sea lion jaw dating back to about two million years old.

They said with increase in global warming, La Brea dire wolves became smaller, more graceful and adapted to hunt smaller prey after the end of the last Ice Age. Julie Meachen, of Des Moines University and lead author of the saber-tooth study, said: "Saber-toothed cats show a clear correlation between climate and shape. Cats living after the end of the Ice Age are larger and adapted to taking larger prey".

Researchers said the findings will help them analyze response reactions of animals against climate change.

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