American Bee Journal
Dadant & Sons Inc
The honey bee genus Apis exhibits a history of respectable extent, being first recognized in geological deposits of Oligocene age. Earliest known species of honey bee had apparently acquired fully eusocial behavior, as indicated in their resemblance to modern worker bees. The geographic area of origin and early evolution of the group is thought to be centered in the Oriental region, particularly in the vicinity of the Indian sub-continent. Chromosomal changes and selective pressures accompanying the development of eusociality may have played an important role in the origin and evolution of the genus. There is some evidence for a decline in the number of honey bee species over the course of the Cenozoic era, resulting, perhaps, from a widespread cooling of climate. The modern, "domesticated" species A. mellifera, well-known to beekeepers, is of relatively recent origin, dating from the Pleistocene epoch.
Culliney, Thomas W., "Geological History and Evolution of the Honey Bee" (1983). Co. Paper 22.
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