This Fossil Spider Has a Weird Extra Appendage

This Fossil Spider Has a Weird Extra Appendage

No living species of spider has a tail but Mr Selden said the arachnid's remote habitat made it possible that tailed descendants may still be alive in Myanmar's backcountry to this day. But it wasn't until amber was bought over to China, by dealers selling it to research institutions, that they actually came across this hard evidence.

Selden speculates the itsy-bitsy spiders likely lived around trees, which explains how they got caught up in the fossilized tree resin.

It's this peculiar feature that led the researchers to suspect that C. yingi belongs to a long-extinct arachnid order, known as the Uraraneida, which are differentiated by their tail-like appendage called a telson.

The primitive creepy crawly is so scary it has been named after a monster from Greek mythology that was made of the parts of more than one creature.

Scientists have discovered a spider from 100 million years ago that had a tail, making it a potent nightmare fuel when its fangs and webbing are added to the mix. The creature likely lived for about 200 million years side-by-side with "true" spiders.

They think that this tail acts like an antenna: "It's for sensing the environment".

The specimen, which was preserved in amber from Myanmar and closely resembles modern spiders, has a whip-like tail that is longer than its body, similar to a scorpion's.

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"Maybe the tail originally had a sensory function; it is covered in short hairs, but when spiders changed to lifestyle like being sit-and-wait predators, the tail was no longer really needed and became lost", Bo Wang was quoted by The Guardian.

It had eight legs and fangs, typical of most modern spiders, and measured about 2.5 millimeters long, with a tail extending to 3 millimeters long - something that no modern spider is equipped with.

Paleontologist Bo Wang, from Chinese Academy of Science, stated that the new fossil will act as a key to know about the origin of the spider.

Fossil hunters found the extraordinary creatures suspended in lumps of amber that formed 100m years ago in what is now Myanmar.

According to different papers in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, four specimens of the new species have been discovered by two different teams of researchers, including one from the University of Kansas. "These specimens became available a year ago to Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology". Spider relatives that are almost three and four times as old as C. yingi also had tails but no spinnerets.

Other species of insects, including millipedes and modern spiders, were also found alongside the four chimaera fossils. "So, we hope to fill in more of the story", Selden said. Spiders, which crawled into existence some 300 million years ago, are known for their spinnerets-modified "legs" that produce silk and control its extrusion from tiny pores called spigots.

Researchers of the latest study found out that the modern spiders might have a connection with the prehistoric arachnids. "We haven't found them", says Selden, "but some of these forests aren't that well-studied, and it's only a tiny creature".

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