Which came first?


Image via Pixabay.

...or bees?

GIF by Mrd12343/Tumblr.

At first, it seems like unsolvable mystery. A paradox. A snake eating its own tail. A question that has puzzled the greatest sages of mankind for millennia.

But there is an answer. A pretty definitive one.

Flowers showed up on Earth about 200 million years ago but were pretty rare until their populations exploded about 90 million years ago, in the Cretaceous Period.

Which means that most of the earliest dinosaurs probably never encountered a flower.

Sorry lil' buddy. Image via Pixabay.

And because the first bees didn't evolve themselves into existence until millions of years after the first flower, the earliest flowers were probably pollinated by gross beetles.

Who were pretty inefficient at spreadin' that sweet pollen around.

Ew. Photo by Axel Strass/Wikimedia Commons.

Bees showed up a few million years later. But once they came along, with their special pollen and nectar-grabbin' equipment, the ball game changed. And soon, flowers were everywhere. And they continue to be everywhere to this day. Which is great for humanity.

Because ... apples.

Mmmmmmm. Photo by Pavel Ševela/Wikimedia Commons.

(And peaches. And cashews. And other such things.)

So there you have it. Flowers won the race.

That's pretty much no longer in dispute. But when it comes to sustaining life on Earth? Bees are the clear MVP.

This explainer lays out the whole timeline in full technicolor detail. It's great and funny and fascinating. Take a look!

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17

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