Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spider Fossil

165 Million Year Old Spider Fossil Found

This picture completely blows my mind, because the fossil is of such great quality. As a layman, I frequently look at fossils in situ and scratch my head. But this fellow is undeniably a spider. And here's why:
"Spider fossils from this period are rare, because the arachnids’ soft bodies don’t preserve well. The pristine fossil pictured in these photos was probably created when the spider was trapped in volcanic ash. The ultrafine clay particles squashed the spider without breaking up the animals’ delicate cuticle as more coarse sediment would, Selden said."
Read the rest of the article here. It also discusses the spider's evolution (or lack thereof) and change in habitat, possibly relating to previous climate change. It's an incredible find, even if you're not too keen on spiders.

Fun Fact: At a young age, my mother taught me about scientific classification, and the arthropod family. Noting the close relationship between spiders and crustaceans at a young age has kept me from ever, ever wanting to eat them.
That, and the funny smell.

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