Friday, September 30, 2005

20,000,000 Million Year Old Spider

The above is a picture of a 20,000,000 year old spider trapped in amber. Sciectists recently created an interesting method for studying the creature - shades of Jurassic Park.

According to BBC News:

Palaeontologist Dr David Penney, of the University of Manchester, found the 4cm long by 2cm wide fossil during a visit to a museum in the Dominican Republic.

Since the discovery two years ago, he has used droplets of blood in the amber to reveal the age of the specimen.

It is thought to be the first time spider blood has been found in amber and scientists hope to extract its DNA.

Even more interesting:

Dr Penney believes it was climbing up a tree 20 million years ago when it was hit on the head by fast flowing resin, became engulfed in the resin and died.

He claims the shape and position of the blood droplets revealed which direction the spider was travelling in and which of its legs broke first.

You can see more images of spiders trapped in amber atMesozoic Arachnids along with other interesting info about Mesozoic spiders.