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Did ancient superbees squash diversity?

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4:57pm, February 8, 2001

The recent discovery of several dozen extinct bee species in ancient amber deposits has paleontologists buzzing. They're wondering if the very success of some bees' social lifestyle provided an evolutionary bottleneck that led to today's dearth of hive-dwelling species.

Entomologist Michael S. Engel of the University of Kansas in Lawrence thinks so. He describes the unexpected diversity of ancient bees and their demise in the Feb. 13 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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