Walking home from school one day, my daughter’s mind was full of fossils. More specifically, she wanted to know if the rock with all the funky indentations she’d picked up could be a fossilized beehive. I had to tell her no.
But not because I really knew anything about it. The funky indentations in her rock just didn’t look like a bee hive to me.
That line of reasoning wasn’t good enough for my daughter. After all, ancient bees might have made very different homes than the modern ones. She wanted to know if any ancient bee hives could have been preserved as fossils, and insisted that I ask Caterpickles.
Can bee hives be preserved as fossils?
That’s because the honeycombs that give beehives their distinctive look are made of wax and are extremely fragile. In most cases, they are destroyed long before the beehive can be preserved as a fossil.
Even so, according to Dr. Judi Kusnick’s lecture notes for her Geology 105: Paleontology class at Sacramento State, paleontologists have found fossilized bee hives. Sadly, aside from a specimen preserved in amber that might be a beehive or might just be a wasp nest but which can’t be viewed without the proper online credentials, I wasn’t able to find any images of fossilized beehives online. At least, none that I trusted the source to have identified correctly.
Anyone out there have better luck?
- Could pterosaurs really fly? (guardian.co.uk)