Photo Of The Day: Scientists Discover 305 Million-Year-Old Spider Ancestor

Published March 31, 2016
Updated January 23, 2018
Prehistoric Spider

A fossil scan of the newly discovered prehistoric spider-like creature, Idmonarachne brasieri. Image Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B

An amateur fossil hunter in France recently unearthed a prehistoric spider-like creature that may help reveal the origins of the arachnid line. In the words of National Geographic, the 305 million-year-old Idmonarachne brasieri “acts as a bridge between early spider-like creatures brewing up blobs of silk and the skilled weavers that we see today.”

While Idmonarachne brasieri could indeed create “blobs of silk,” it could not spin those blobs into webs like today’s spiders can. This is but one reason the new report can’t truly claim to have now discovered the world’s first spider.

The strange creature doesn’t fit very neatly into any one category, instead possessing the creepy fangs of a spider and the equally creepy segmented body of a pseudoscorpion. But arachnophobes might take comfort in the fact that the entire body length of the specimen found was only about half an inch.

Nevertheless, this evolutionary missing link eventually gave way to the true spiders we know today. And for that reason, the arachnologists involved in this new discovery might be the only ones jumping for joy.

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