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165-Million Year Old Spider Fossil
February 9, 2010 1:39 PM   Subscribe


 
Looks like a spider.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:43 PM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


1. Invent fire.
2. Kill with fire.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:44 PM on February 9, 2010 [18 favorites]


Lloth will be pleased.
posted by The Whelk at 1:47 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Terrifyingly, he seems to have died while sitting atop and pressing down on Arthur from The Tick.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:48 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Was it, by any chance, found inside the fossil of an elderly woman?
posted by bondcliff at 1:48 PM on February 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


The Stevie Nicks thread is one door down.

I keed, I keed.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:49 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, well, I'll be weeping quietly in the corner for the rest of the day then. Thanks.
posted by Neofelis at 1:50 PM on February 9, 2010


Intellectually I know it's already dead, but I still want to stomp on it.
posted by logicpunk at 1:51 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


PALEONTOLOGIST: Aaaaaaaaaaauggghhhh!!!!! Holy fuck!!!!
(sound of rock falling onto something crunchy)
ENTOMOLOGIST (racing in from spider lab next door): What are you screaming about?
PALEONTOLOGIST (catching breath): Oh my god, the biggest--
ENTOMOLOGIST: --discovery in the history of paleontology! A perfectly preserved prehistoric specimen! What a find!
PALEONTOLOGIST: Er, uh, why yes. Yes it is.
ENTOMOLOGIST: By the way, have you seen my tarantula, Terry? I let him out to stretch his legs, but he's a bit late coming back.
PALEONTOLOGIST: Um, no, but I'll let you know straight away if I do.
ENTOMOLOGIST: Thanks, and again, congratulations!
posted by Sys Rq at 1:54 PM on February 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Just wait until they're able to extract the DNA from that fossil and raise living spiders which is so amazing they'll keep them on an island somewhere and people will go to see the spiders on the island but a guy will try to profit off of spider embryos and shut down the security system and the spiders will escape and you'll be sitting at your desk reading a community weblog and the spiders will be all over your legs omigod
posted by shakespeherian at 1:55 PM on February 9, 2010 [22 favorites]


I know there's been a lot of discussion about the quality and relevance of commentary on MetaFilter lately. I take community seriously, and I take spiders seriously. But this really does look like one of those apparitions of Jesus on a slice of toast.
posted by bicyclefish at 1:56 PM on February 9, 2010


Wow. That's really impressive! Right down to the hairs!
posted by brundlefly at 2:00 PM on February 9, 2010


Not dead enough!
posted by Salieri at 2:00 PM on February 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I initially read, "Stunningly perverted spider," and clicked the link to find out what the hell a spider could do that was more perverted than, say, having sex with a male's headless body or whatever weird shit they get up to.

Spiders. Goddamn perverts.
posted by Scattercat at 2:04 PM on February 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


The part of me that loves science wants to click on that link, but the part of me that likes to be able to get to sleep at night is preventing me from doing it.



It sure sounds interesting though.
posted by dnesan at 2:09 PM on February 9, 2010


I don't know why you all get so freaked out by spiders. They catch and eat flies around my house; that's pretty damn useful. If I could invent a little tiny eight-legged robot that would roam around my house doing that, you'd be lining up around the block, and here nature's provided it for free.

try to think of it as an iRachnid or something
posted by davejay at 2:09 PM on February 9, 2010 [25 favorites]


Did someone mention Spider?
posted by william_boot at 2:15 PM on February 9, 2010


Did they find a fossilized rolled-up magazine next to it?
posted by Rhomboid at 2:26 PM on February 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Lloth will be pleased.

Ahem. That's Lolth. Please turn in your DM's Guide at the door on your way out.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:53 PM on February 9, 2010


"Lolth (Lloth in the drow dialect), the Demon Queen of Spiders, is the chief goddess of drow elves."
posted by aihal at 2:59 PM on February 9, 2010


This is so freakishly rare, it's unbelievable. Previous spider fossils have all been from amber inclusions, like this one.
posted by dhruva at 3:00 PM on February 9, 2010


The wired article doesn't bother to mention it– but this fearsome ancient and mighty beast is ~3mm big. (PDF)
posted by Cold Lurkey at 3:04 PM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd hit it.
posted by Cranberry at 3:04 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ahem. That's Lolth. Please turn in your DM's Guide at the door on your way out.

Depends on if you're a drow or a svirfneblin.
posted by Scattercat at 3:13 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


165-Million Year Old

But it's way more scary if you think it's only 5000 years old.
posted by three blind mice at 3:17 PM on February 9, 2010


The wired article doesn't bother to mention it– but this fearsome ancient and mighty beast is ~3mm big.

Spelling mistake. They meant 3m.
posted by panboi at 3:32 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spelling mistake. They meant 3m.

*cough*
posted by zarq at 3:49 PM on February 9, 2010


actually, the age of this specimen is not so impressive...it's been known for a while now that spiders are amongst the oldest if not the oldest land animals, dating back to the silurian period (~420 mya)...i saw a facinating program (i think it was called 'the shape of life') where they took fossilized plants from that era and dunked them in acid to remove the rock, freeing the plant and uncovering lots and lots of spider parts...
posted by sexyrobot at 3:53 PM on February 9, 2010


He is our hero!
posted by norm at 4:01 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is that the insect that Ringo Starr smashed down on Dennis Quaid's face?
posted by zardoz at 4:03 PM on February 9, 2010


LOLth.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:23 PM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


That is totally cool.
posted by sciurus at 4:41 PM on February 9, 2010


Actually, this is extremely impressive. I cannot emphasise how bloody awesome this is. Spiders generally don't fossilize well - if at all (they're soft bodied, so just don't persist). This means that it is very hard to get accurate dates on the age of different groups of spiders. If I found something like this for the spiders I work on... well I'd be torn between starting work on it five minutes ago and pouring myself a celebratory martini!
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 4:43 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


One, cool that such a fossil survived.

Two, even cooler how similar they are today to those over a hundred million years ago. This means they've pretty much achieved the height of their evolutionary form, which means that at their best, we can still kill them dead quite easily!*

Three, is the fact that China has become a virtual fossil factor in the last few years due to an overabundance in fossils, or simply a lot more access has been given for these research teams?


* Unless it breeds with a South American killer spider.
posted by Atreides at 5:15 PM on February 9, 2010


Out came the sun and dried up all the clay
And itsy bitsy spider would scare another day
posted by bwg at 5:21 PM on February 9, 2010


But it's way more scary if you think it's only 5000 years old.

Because God put it there to test our faith?
posted by bwg at 5:56 PM on February 9, 2010


Three, is the fact that China has become a virtual fossil factor in the last few years due to an overabundance in fossils, or simply a lot more access has been given for these research teams?
My impression is that a combination of the mass media reaching even the remotest places now, a healthy amount of science programming on that and systems in place where you can report such finds and get a response have meant a lot more gets the attention of specialists now than was possible in the past. I think before when people have come across finds like these in the course of farming or mining they'll be more likely to be unaware of what they'd got and have nowhere to turn to have it properly dealt with even if they did.
posted by Abiezer at 9:09 PM on February 9, 2010


Spider fossil, spider fossil, does whatever a spider fossil does...

/Kill it again. Just to be sure.
posted by azpenguin at 10:12 PM on February 9, 2010


Came here for the LOLth, left satisfied.
posted by davejay at 11:10 PM on February 9, 2010


is the fact that China has become a virtual fossil factor in the last few years due to an overabundance in fossils, or simply a lot more access has been given for these research teams?

well, yes. i saw a show a while back about the fossil grounds in china (gobi desert, i believe) which are so extensive and so packed with dinosaur bones the ground is actually crunchy with them (they think it may have been one of the last habitable breeding grounds (there's lots of dinosaur nests there) after the comet hit, so lots of animals migrated there, and then died). apparently there just aren't enough scientists there to deal with it so they've asked for international help. the footage i saw was crazy...there was just miles of bones everywhere...
posted by sexyrobot at 1:37 AM on February 10, 2010


Spider fossil, spider fossil, does whatever a spider fossil does...

He is our hero!

I PROMISE NOT TO KILL YOU
posted by JHarris at 1:56 AM on February 10, 2010


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