Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stone spider

Archaeologists did not begin to find Jurassic spider fossils until 1984, but at the turn of the 21st c. a treasure trove turned up in Daohugou, China. A short time ago the fossil beds turned up a large primitive female orb weaver (ABOVE RIGHT). Now researchers from the University of Kansas have identified the male version (ABOVE LEFT) and he is colossal by prehistoric standards. Though his body length is only .65" (1.65 cm), his legs stretch 2.3" (5.82 cm). Invertebrate paleontologist Paul Selden remarks, First, it is an amazing spider. It’s the largest fossil spider—and great to have both male and female. Second, research into the anatomy reveals details of how it lived and interacted with its insect prey." But it would have been no match for a Carboniferous dragonfly

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