Biologists have long been intrigued by the complex social systems of various insects. Despite a voluminous literature dealing with the evolution of these systems, immense gaps remain in our understanding of insect sociality. Several theories have been proposed to explain the evolution of social behavior in certain groups of insects (e.g., Hamilton, 1964), but none consider this problem with respect to geological time. The present paper does so by examining the fossil record for clues not only on the antiquity of sociality, but also on the nature of these early social insects. Included in this survey are those insects recognized as eusocial: the Isoptera, and three super-families of the Hymenoptera: Vespoidea, Formicoidea, and Apoidea.
Burnham, Laurie, "Survey of Social Insects in the Fossil Record" (1978). Bu. Paper 30.
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