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SCIENFE FILE / Science in Brief

Remains of extinct bee discovered

September 01, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Harvard University researchers have discovered the remains of an extinct bee, perfectly preserved in amber, with a load of orchid pollen on its back -- some of the only direct evidence of pollination in the fossil record.

The find, reported Thursday in the journal Nature, indicates that orchids arose 76 million to 84 million years ago, much earlier than most scientists had believed.

The fossil record lacks evidence of orchids, the researchers said, because they bloom infrequently and are concentrated in tropical areas where heat and humidity prevent fossilization.

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