Explorations in visual arts, photography and Science, along with any random thing that I find curious enough...
This pair of images shows, on top, a modern-day leafcutter bee from the species Megachile rotundata and a very cool fossil find from the LaBrea Tar Pits.
The bees come from a pair of full nests exhumed from a part of the tar pits; the same location has produced bones from animals 23,000 to 40,000 years old, and carbon-14 dating of the material in the nests gives the same age, so these bees are about that old. Many interesting specimens are preserved in the nests and have been found by scientists exhuming material from the tar pits, including the leafy walls of the nests themselves, adults, and pupae like this one.
The bees are from species that are widespread in the United States, but the presence of these bees at this site actually helps constrain how their distributions have changed during the big climate shifts that happened since the nests were made. The bees today have expanded ranges at higher elevations than is suggested by these fossil finds, indicating that as the climate of the area warmed, the bees moved uphill to follow similar temperature levels.
Image credit: PLOS One (Open access journal):