Tropical Honeybees May Have Survived Nuclear Winter Tens Of Millions Of Years Ago
Scientists have suggested a few theories concerning the cause of the extinction of dinosaurs and other forms of Cretaceous life on the planet. Although multiple plausible theories, such as the “ice age”, have been suggested, many modern scientists are convinced that an asteroid wiped out most of earth’s lifeforms, including dinosaurs, millions of years ago. Most scientists agree that the planet became very cold following the impact of the asteroid. However, scientists have still not reached a consensus concerning how long this nuclear winter lasted. According to one researcher, the modern existence of a certain species of tropical honeybee indicates that a nuclear winter could not have lasted for long.
According to a University of New Orleans graduate student, Jacqueline Kozisek, the fact that the tropical honeybee known as Cretotrigona prisca survived past the Cretaceous period indicates that the nuclear winter may not have been as devastating to life on earth as many scientists think. Kozisek has studied numerous specimens of Cretotrigona prisca that have been preserved in amber. She claims that these ancient honeybees are nearly identical to the tropical honeybees that are living today. Given the similarities, it is likely that the ancient honeybees could tolerate just as much cold weather as today’s honeybees. In fact, the fossilized honeybees could even be ancestors to modern tropical honeybees. Since the fossilized honeybees went extinct long after the asteroid impact, they must have survived the nuclear winter. This means that the post cretaceous planet may not have been as cold as scientists think, or the nuclear winter did not last for very long. Modern honeybees would never be able to survive for an extended period of time in the cold post-cretaceous climate, so neither could these fossilized bees.
Today’s honeybees thrive at temperatures between thirty one and thirty four degrees celsius, so these fossilized honeybees likely required similar temperatures in order to survive. Scientists currently believe that the nuclear winter forced the earth’s temperature down to seven to twelve degrees celsius, which is too cold for the honeybees. Some scientists believe that Kozisek may be onto something. After all, many organisms did survive the asteroid impact and the following nuclear winter. Only seventy percent of life on earth died in the process. This fossilized honeybee may change the way scientists imagine the extinction event that occurred sixty five million years ago.
Do you believe many types of insects survived the nuclear winter, and that explains why fossilized insects look similar to insects living today?