Bees At The Beginning

Bees have been around for about a hundred million years.

To put that into perspective, that’s about 98 million years before Homo sapiens appeared on the scene.

Melittosphex burmensis, which has been trapped in amber for the past hundred million years, is the oldest bee fossil ever discovered.

During that time, bees have had a surprisingly complex and interdependent relationship with flowering plants.

The shapes and scents of many flowers evolved specifically to attract bees, and bees’ bodies evolved so theycan poke the front part of their bodies right into a plant.

We are born with a taste for sugar. We know that our earliest ancestors valued honey as much as or more than we do because honeybees and honey are depicted in prehistoric cave and rock paintings.

One of the earliest paintings of honey-hunting was found in Valencia, Spain in 1924.

Woman gathering honey, watercolor copy by F. Benitez Mellado of a Mesolithic (c. 10,000/8000–c. 3000 bce) painting in the Cueva de la Arana, near Bicorp, Spain; in the Museum of Prehistory, Valencia, Spain.

Many bee-related paintings can be found in southern Africa.

And in India.

These paintings were made by man, the hunter-gatherer. He had yet to discover agriculture. There were no domesticated animals, except maybe the dog.

But he had found in the wild bees’ nests a sweet food that brought pleasure to his life. Perhaps he had even discovered that he could make an intoxicating drink from it. We know that mead was almost certainly the first fermented drinks known.

After these paintings, evidence of bees next appears in the art and literature of the Ancient East.

2 thoughts on “Bees At The Beginning

  1. AmySue says:

    Great Post! I know I was born with a taste for sugar!! 🙂

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