Tuesday, February 9, 2010

incredibly Preserved 165-Million-Year-Old Spider Fossil Found

Yet 165 million years ago, they lived on a small continent called the North China Block.

“At some point something caused their range to contract to this part of southern North America,”
clipped from www.wired.com

Scientists have unearthed an almost perfectly preserved spider fossil in China dating back to the middle Jurassic era, 165 million years ago. The fossilized spiders, Eoplectreurys gertschi, are older than the only two other specimens known by around 120 million years.

found at a site
with fossilized salamanders, small primitive mammals, insects and water crustaceans. During the Jurassic era, the fossil bed was part of a lake in a volcanic region
Spider fossils from this period are rare, because the arachnids’ soft bodies don’t preserve well. The pristine fossil pictured in these photos was probably created when the spider was trapped in volcanic ash. The ultrafine clay particles squashed the spider without breaking up the animals’ delicate cuticle
findings also suggest this family of spiders
was once much more widespread than it is today. Currently, the family has only been found living in
California, Arizona, Mexico and Cuba.
165 million years ago
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