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50-MILLION-YEAR-OLD FOSSILIZED BEE IS WORLD’S OLDEST

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A tiny fossilized bee discovered in a piece of rock strata in the German Eifel region has been certified as the oldest ever found, archaeologists say.

The bee, nine millimeters long, dates from 50 million years ago. Found in a chunk of sedimentary oil shale last year, the bee was scientifically evaluated this month.Scientists now believe the development of honey bees reached its peak 50 million years ago, since the fossilized bee differed only fractionally from its modern counterpart, said the Natural History Museum in Mainz.

Using a powerful microscope, experts magnified the bee by 15,000 times and were able to detect pollen it had collected. It's likely that the type of pollen can also be identified, said the museum.

Until the latest discovery, the oldest fossilized honey bee was a specimen found in a piece of amber on the Baltic Coast. It was dated as being 40 million years old.