La Brea Tar Pits yield exquisite Ice Age bees

Ancient pupae snug in leaves give clues to climate

By Susan Milius, 17:15 PM April 9, 2014

It’s not all mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. The first leafcutter bees from the Pleistocene epoch have turned up in the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.

Exquisitely preserved as pupae undergoing their transformation to adulthood, a male and a female are still wrapped in their leafy nest. Micro-CT scans and other clues let researchers identify the bees as Megachile gentilis, a species that still lives today. These bees line burrows with bits of leaves to pamper developing offspring.

The prese...

Source URL: