Researchers Discover 100-Million-Year-Old Spider with Tail 'Frozen' in Amber

Chimerarachne yingi fossil

About 100 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, four, tiny spider-like creatures became trapped in amber. An global team of researchers from the United States, China, Germany, and the United Kingdom announced the discovery today (February 5) in two papers in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Male spiders have also evolved another modified "leg" between their fangs and the back four pairs of legs that inserts sperm into the female. But the presence of the whip-like tail - longer than the creatures' themselves - was a bit too much for Selden and his team to bundle into the arachnid family.

While no living spider species has a tail, the feature isn't unheard of in the arachnid world.

The C. yingi fossils were uncovered by amber miners in northern Burma, sold to dealers, then purchased by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. They're also all male, which Selden says makes sense based on the behavior of modern spiders: adult male spiders are more likely to be wandering around somewhere they could become trapped in the flowing tree sap that hardened into amber.

Scientists have discovered a groundbreaking arachnid species that lived millions of years ago - and it had a tail. "So, we hope to fill in more of the story", Selden said.

"That's why the new one is really interesting, apart from the fact that it's much younger - it seems to be an intermediate form", researcher Paul Selden said in the Kansas statement.

Modern-day spiders don't have tails, but do have silk-producing spinnerets.

How the spider would have looked.

Scientists found the creature trapped in a piece of amber from the mid-Cretaceous period, and now believe that it's an entirely new species.




As for what its day-to-day life would have been like, the researchers can only guess.

The spider had spinnerets to make silk like modern spiders, but probably didn't spin the intricate webs we see today. "Spinnerets are used to produce silk but for a whole host of reasons - to wrap eggs, to make burrows, to make sleeping hammocks or just to leave behind trails".

Given its size, the team believes there is still a chance its ancestors could be living in the south-east Asian rainforest today.

Spiders went up into the air when the insects went up into the air. "Like all spiders it would have been a carnivore and would have eaten insects, I imagine".

Remarkably, the amber in which the four known examples of C. yingi were discovered wasn't yanked out of the ground by the scientists themselves.

The experts have named the newly discovered species Chimerarachne yingi, with the genus name coming from the fire-breathing chimera in Greek mythology that had the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a serpent.

"We know a lot about the Burmese biota during the Cretaceous", he said. "We haven't found them", says Selden, "but some of these forests aren't that well-studied, and it's only a tiny creature". But experts disagree about how these fossils relate to modern-day spiders, because there's something unusual about their crumpled corpses: all four of them have tails.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Jeremy Corbyn Says Labour Would Pardon And Apologise To Suffragettes
Feb 07, 2018 - 01:30
To memorialise her rebellious night in parliament, Tony Benn broke the rules by screwing a plaque into the wall of her cupboard. The Anti-Suffrage League was founded in 1908 by Mary Humphrey Ward, with support from two men: Lord Curzon and William Cremer.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Snow lovers can look forward to more snow this week
Feb 07, 2018 - 01:30
Precipitation will change to rain by 10 am Wednesday morning with temperatures rising well above freezing. Total snow accumulations of up to one half inch and ice accumulations of around one tenth are expected.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Iran: US threatening Russian Federation with new nuclear weapons
Feb 07, 2018 - 01:07
According to SIPRI data, Russian Federation has 7,000 nuclear weapons while the United States follows closely with 6,800. President Donald Trump commissioned a review of nuclear-weapons policy a week after taking office.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Poland's President Says He Will Sign Controversial Holocaust Bill
Feb 07, 2018 - 01:05
Tillerson referred to Poland as "our strong ally", and acknowledged that terms like " Polish death camps" were "painful and misleading".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Investigators are Piecing Together Details of Deadly Amtrak Train Crash
Feb 06, 2018 - 15:00
CSX in its own statement offered condolences to the families of the two Amtrak employees who were killed in the crash. Their Amtrak train was diverted to a side track and slammed head-on into an empty freight train , authorities said.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ireland take late win over France in Six Nations
Feb 06, 2018 - 14:46
Included in the Leinster contingent is lock James Ryan , who will make his Six Nations debut on Saturday. The side will be once again captained by the vastly-experienced hooker Rory Best who wins his 107th cap.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Rajasthan Bypolls: Congress clinches all three seats from ruling BJP
Feb 06, 2018 - 14:38
In Alwar where BJP won by 2.84 lakh votes in 2014, the pendulum has swung the other way to give Congress a 1.95 lakh win. The BJP suffered a devastating blow as it faced a complete rout in five byelections held in Rajasthan and West Bengal.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Fight polls with dignity, Siddaramaiah tells Modi
Feb 06, 2018 - 14:38
Modi said "in the whole world there is discussion about ease of doing business and there are efforts in that direction". Karnataka, ruled by the Congress, will go to the polls this year. "He (prime minister) will not benefit from this".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kashmir Solidarity Day Observed In Balochistan
Feb 06, 2018 - 14:30
He added that Pakistan is a voice of the oppressed Kashmiris and will continue to stand with the Kashmiri brethren through every thick and thin.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Shujaa to face Hamilton champs Fiji in Vegas
Feb 05, 2018 - 06:27
The two sides had scored a try apiece, with Kiwi captain Scott Curry's opener matched by Joe Porch's five-pointer after the break. The result saw Shujaa drop to the fifth place semifinals where they beat Scotland 33-19 to book a final berth with Samoa .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Israel Begins Legalizing West Bank Outpost After Settler Killed There
Feb 05, 2018 - 06:26
According to the Ma'an News Agency, Obeid was shot in the head during the raid in the Wadi Burqin neighborhood. He is the seventh Palestinian to be killed by Israel this year.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top TDP not to break alliance with BJP
Feb 05, 2018 - 06:25
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu called the party meeting to decide the next course of action. He said that the TDP MPs would demand a special package for AP, new railway zone and funds for Polavaram project.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Westworld Season 2 Sets Premiere Date - Watch First Full Trailer
Feb 05, 2018 - 06:23
New to the series for the show's second season as series regulars are Katja Herbers, Gustaf SkarsgÄrd , and Fares Fares. It soon becomes that the hosts are not happy with the things they discovered in the first season of the show.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Claude Puel: Leicester City players will welcome back Riyad Mahrez
Feb 05, 2018 - 06:21
LEICESTER'S players will welcome Awol Riyad Mahrez back with open arms, insists Harry Maguire . It is a situation we need to manage, but all the details will stay inside the club.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top China accuses U.S. of 'Cold War mentality'
Feb 05, 2018 - 06:18
A critical element of US nuclear deterrence, it is reaching the end of it's useful life after 33 years in service. Modifying some submarine-launched nuclear warheads to give a lower-yield detonation.