Evolution of Bees and other insects

Reply Sat 6 Apr, 2013 10:41 pm
Does a species evolution stabilize like bees don't seem to have evolved in 65 million years or longer. I just read an article about a found fossilized bee that suggest they may have been around 110 million years, I think it said but the bee and ants and such at least on the outside there evolution has either stopped or stabilized and I am not sure if that is even possible.
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Reply Sun 7 Apr, 2013 06:07 am
Evolution of bees, ants, and wasps is interrelated as a process of specialization. Bees were originally a subgroup of predatory wasps . The earliest fossil is from amber in New Jersey (USA) and is early Cretaceous (So the 110 million year date is pretty good). BUT, if you look at the process of evolution and rising niches, you must look at the development of flowering plants (Angiosperms). The earliest true pollen bearing plant was Archefructus liaoningensis (fossil from China as the species name implies). It was from the later Triassic at about 125 million years ago. SO the possible relationship of the evolution of bees, (as a pollinating insect) may have been a parallel thing as plants evolved from seed bearing gymniosperms to angiosperms. Is it amazing that , when Darwin made a big "hands up" and stated that the evolution of flowering plants was a big mystery he just didnt have the wealth of fossils we have today and now we are able to look at coincident evolution among species that were initially unrelated in function but developed the functionality which then, modified their morpohology. Thats the story of bee fossils, weve seen the "original pollenator bee" from the Cretaceous amber as a real "missing link'. The critter maintained many of its wasp like ancestral features but, like birds, displayed many "bee like" features that became dominant in later and later species.
The story Ive always heard was that predatory "proto bees" would carry their prey back to their larvae and , as the prey were acquired from plant fruiting bodies , the bees gradually traded their predatory nature to becoming a pollenator. I have no idea whether that can be tracked but all these fossils are temporally coincident . Weve created the connection purely by inference . While its circumstantial, the arguments and the fossils are compelling
Reply Sun 7 Apr, 2013 01:48 pm
So are they still evolving or has there evolution stabilized because in appearance they don't appear like they have changed from what I read I think your telling me that if the flowers evolved something new that the bees cant handle that population would have to evolve to handle that change so if there are no changes to environment does a species evolution stabilize or stop?I hope I am asking properly. I am nearly 40 years old but I was brought up catholic everything I know about evolution, I have had to teach myself after my conversation away from religion.
I am struggling to grasp some things and I am having a hard times finding the information on the questions I have.Then I found this site so I really want to learn as much as I can, I have been googling but I cant seem to find the answer to questions like. Do species stop or stabilized in their evolutionary process until a change in environment that forces the population to evolve?
Reply Sun 7 Apr, 2013 02:31 pm
Bees could keep evolving iof their populations would become more segmented or if flowers" changed". I can see that Russian bees are a separate sub species and are acclimated to Arctic flowering plants.
Many bees have evolved solitary rather than hive styles. I believbe that there are something like 2000 different species of bees so that, should an environmental calamity occur, one or more species can become extinct and another can move in and replace it and adapt to the formers niche.
(or whats left of it)

WQe have a mini calamity occuring right now with the Italian species of honeybee disappearing due to either environmental or predation effects. The Russian bees seem to be immune and are slowly taking over theItalian niches .

Usually, the quicker a species reproduces, the more able it is absorb calamity and adapt and evolve.

Remember, we are only looking at something from the rear view mirror when we only look at fossils or compare DNA among similar species
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