Sci-tech

Arachnophobes take heed: This ancient spider had a whip-like tail

Arachnophobes take heed: This ancient spider had a whip-like tail

While the animals have fangs, twin feelers (or pedipalps), and silk-producing spinnerets at the rear, they also bear tails which are found in far more ancient spider relatives called uraraneids.

If you already thought spiders were terrifying to look at, wait till you hear about a newly-discovered species of arachnid that had a long tail (as well as eight legs). Each spider was about 3mm long with a tail measuring up to 5mm.

The four fossils came from the amber mines of northern Myanmar - a treasure trove of fossils like a dinosaur tail trapped in amber, and ancient ticks that feasted on dino blood. A pair of papers out today detail how this 100-million-year-old discovery, preserved in amber, fits into the spider evolution story...and the ways it doesn't. "We can only speculate that, because it was trapped in amber, we assume it was living on or around tree trunks", says Selden.

"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. These include spinnerets for producing silk for webs (as well as for other purposes like egg-wrapping), a modified male mouthparts, unique to each species, which are used to transfer sperm to the female during mating, and venom for immobilizing prey.

How the spider would have looked.

Scientists have discovered a brand new species of spider, with a feature that's not normally seen in the creatures - a tail.

More news: Neymar: It's Unfair That This Star Is Being Told To Leave PSG

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

Regardless of where the critters lie on our fickle evolutionary tables, modern spiders apparently didn't need these hairy tails to become the immensely widespread creatures we know them as.

Given its size, the team believes there is still a chance its ancestors could be living in the south-east Asian rainforest today. These all evolved before spiders made it up into the air and made insect traps. What will likely scare the vast majority of arachnophobes around the globe is that scientists have uncovered creepy tailed spiders in amber. "Like all spiders it would have been a carnivore and would have eaten insects, I imagine". I presume that it didn't make webs that stretched across bushes.

Researchers from the United States, China, Germany and Britain, who made two related publications in Nature Ecology & Evolution, discovered a total of four samples and named the Chimerarachne yingi (C. yingi), combining the word spider with the Chimera of Greek mythology. The fossil is extremely well preserved in Burmese amber, and dates back to the Cretaceous period, when the likes of Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor and Triceratops walked the earth.

Selden expressed hope that there could be some living descendants of the creature - with tails - waiting to be found: "We haven't found them, but some of these forests aren't that well-studied, and it's only a tiny creature". Numerous other often-spectacular Cretaceous amber finds coming out of Southeast Asia these days (see, for example, the tick preserved clinging to a dinosaur feather or 2016's entire feathered dinosaur tail) have taken a similar route to scientific notice.


  • Metro Detroit Weather: Winter Weather Advisory overnight

    Metro Detroit Weather: Winter Weather Advisory overnight

    The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch across MA ahead of Wednesday's storm, excluding the southeast. Chance of precipitation? 100 percent! New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
    Women: The female protesters against giving women the vote

    Women: The female protesters against giving women the vote

    But unlike her mother and sister, she maintained a political affiliation, which for many years was restricted by the WSPU. Before her death Davison was jailed eight times, went on hunger strike seven times and was force-fed 49 times.
    Frasier dad John Mahoney dies at 77

    Frasier dad John Mahoney dies at 77

    Mahoney was a distinguished voice actor, appearing in many films fans may never have realised starred the thespian. He also appeared in such big-screen films as Tin Men , Barton Fink , Moonstruck and Eight Men Out , among others.
  • Fake doctor in India may have infected 21 people with HIV

    Fake doctor in India may have infected 21 people with HIV

    According to a health camp report from November past year at least 40 positive cases have been reported from Unnao . Meanwhile, area councillor Sunil Bangarmau said if proper tests are done, at least 500 cases of HIV would come up.
    'Black Panther' Feels Like The Beginning Of Something New For Marvel

    'Black Panther' Feels Like The Beginning Of Something New For Marvel

    Jordan of Creed ), an ex-US military agent who knows more than he is letting on about the mystical Wakandan way of life. Jordan has hailed new movie Black Panther as "extremely important" in changing the landscape of cinema for black actors.
    N.Korea earned $200m despite United Nations  sanctions

    N.Korea earned $200m despite United Nations sanctions

    CNN has obtained key sections of the report from a United Nations diplomat who is not authorized to speak publicly. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said violations of maritime operations involving North Korea are a problem.
  • Sam Darnold: Would be unbelievable  to be mentored by Eli

    Sam Darnold: Would be unbelievable to be mentored by Eli

    It's about doing your job but also helping the other guys around you and having great communication in the quarterback room". The Giants have assured Eli Manning he will continue as the Giants' starting quarterback this season. "Nothing changes.
    White House says economy 'exceptionally strong' despite steep dive in stock market

    White House says economy 'exceptionally strong' despite steep dive in stock market

    One by one, each of the channels dipped away from the president's address because the DJIA was dropping at an alarming rate. The London FTSE 100 closed, on Monday, down 1.5 percent at 7,334.98, meaning all the major global stock markets had fallen.
    Monster Hunter World Update 1.04 Goes Live On PS4 and Xbox One

    Monster Hunter World Update 1.04 Goes Live On PS4 and Xbox One

    A new patch to the game should address one the biggest issues users have experienced, which is Xbox matchmaking failures. As well as fixes for matchmaking and SOS flares, issues with the Hunting Horn have also been sorted, among other things.
  • Hot tea tied to higher cancer risk for smokers and drinkers

    Hot tea tied to higher cancer risk for smokers and drinkers

    In the early stages it does not usually cause any symptoms when the tumour is small but when it grows symptoms begin to show. Researchers asked participants about their tea drinking habits, along with other lifestyle choices, through a questionnaire.
    Poland's President Expected to Make Statement on Holocaust Bill on Tuesday

    Poland's President Expected to Make Statement on Holocaust Bill on Tuesday

    Poland's right-wing government claims the law is not meant to limit freedom to research or speak about the Holocaust . But Polish officials have defended the legislation, saying that the row with Israel was rooted in misunderstanding.
    Police warn about child porn video shared on Facebook

    Police warn about child porn video shared on Facebook

    This is a case our of Alabama, and law-enforcement there is actively investigating the video. Police across the country are warning Facebook users to not share or view the video.