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Fossilised spider 'biggest on record'

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posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 02:09 AM
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Scientists have described a Chinese spider they say is the biggest fossilised arachnid yet found.


The female, which lived about 165 million years ago, belongs to a collection of spiders well known today - the golden orb weavers.

These creatures make webs from a very tough and distinctively golden silk.

The researchers tell the journal Biology Letters that Nephila jurassica, as they have called their specimen, would have had a leg span of some 15cm.

"She is the largest known fossil spider," said Professor Paul Selden from the University of Kansas, US.

"Her body is not the biggest, but if you add in her long legs then she's the largest," he told BBC News.

Today's Nephila species are found around the globe in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

Until this new fossil turned up in Inner Mongolia, the most ancient example from this grouping, or genus, was about 35 million years old.

So, this discovery pushes the existence of the Nephila back to the Jurassic Period, making them the longest ranging spider genus known.

No-one can say for sure how this particular arachnid met her end, but she may have succumbed to a natural catastrophe.

The spider was encased in volcanic ash at the bottom of what would have been a lake. Perhaps the ash fall from an eruption pulled her from her web and smothered her. Whatever the circumstances of the spider's end, the preservation of detail today is exquisite.



"You see not just the hairs on the legs but little things like the trichobothria which are very, very fine. They're used to detect air vibrations. There's a very distinct group of them and they're a very distinct size which is typical of this genus, Nephila," Professor Selden explained.


Nephila females today weave some of the largest orb webs known, up to 1.5m in diameter. The great prowess of the females stands in stark contrast to the rather diminutive males of the genus. Their small form make the females look like giants.

This disparity in size is an example of what biologists refer to as extreme sexual dimorphism.

Professor Selden and his colleagues are keen to find out whether this characteristic holds true for the ancient Nephila, too.




"The previous oldest Nephilid is a male from the Cretaceous Period found in Spain. That male is normal sized, whereas in the present day the females are giants," the Kansas scientist said





"So, it looks like we may have this dimorphism going back this great length of time. We'd like to find a male in the deposit to confirm this. All the evidence would suggest the male would be normal size, but we haven't yet located one."








posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 02:11 AM
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i got chills just thinking about that little bugger crawling under my blankets.....looks like something from one of those bad sci fi channel movies...imagine the size of a shoe you would need to squish that thing....
edit on 20-4-2011 by gdaub23 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 02:15 AM
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I just love fossils i collect them..
thanks for the post its very interisting and that is a big spider love to have it for my collection



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 02:18 AM
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Originally posted by gdaub23
i got chills just thinking about that little bugger crawling under my blankets.....looks like something from one of those bad sci fi channel movies...imagine the size of a shoe you would need to squish that thing....
edit on 20-4-2011 by gdaub23 because: (no reason given)
15 cm isn't that big, we've got bigger than that now. I've wondered before on occasion, wether or not there used to be huge dino spiders rocking around millions of years ago. Apparetly not.



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 03:15 AM
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reply to post by Acidtastic
 


I agree I was completely disappointed!

I was hoping it would be at least more impressive than this!




Edit to Add: S&F OP Good find none-the-less!
edit on 20-4-2011 by Jinglelord because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 03:16 AM
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Originally posted by Acidtastic

Originally posted by gdaub23
i got chills just thinking about that little bugger crawling under my blankets.....looks like something from one of those bad sci fi channel movies...imagine the size of a shoe you would need to squish that thing....
edit on 20-4-2011 by gdaub23 because: (no reason given)
15 cm isn't that big, we've got bigger than that now. I've wondered before on occasion, wether or not there used to be huge dino spiders rocking around millions of years ago. Apparetly not.

I was going to post something akin to this myself. The biggest spider today has a leg-span of 30cm (Giant Huntsman Spider), twice the size of this prehistoric one. Like you I figured "Hey, there must have been giant spiders the size of a car back then!". Relieved yet disappointed that there wasn't, or at least it hasn't been discovered yet.
edit on 20/4/11 by AdamsMurmur because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 03:26 AM
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What is reason why people fear insects/arachnids? I can reason it if its some kind of mechanism coded in DNA, because some of those are poisonous, and so damaging to well beeing and its good reason to fear em. But most of em aren't dangerous.
I for one don't fear anything "creepy crawling", but I use common sense when I need to stay clear, for instance when I see poisonous snake.
Classic example when fear wins reason, this bug-o-fobia.



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 05:58 AM
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I'm disappointed haha, i was expecting some monster with a 3ft leg span or something. I'm sure ive read of spiders with bigger spans than 15cm?



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 06:36 AM
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Notice how the title says its the biggest "fossilized" spider on record.
Not the biggest spider ever found in the world.

This wasn't the largest spider ever found.
Just the biggest fossil of a spider ever found, so far.


Get it?

Either way I hate spiders.
I know they are helpful but they creep me out.
Once I had a large wolf spider crawl in between my toes when I was asleep.
I squished it and felt a "pop" with oozing guts dripping down my foot.
Had a pretty big mess from it.
Pretty gross, huh?
Then I threw it on my friend, sleeping on my couch, who proceeded to scream like a 10 yr old girl.
I guess he don't like them either.

That spider was about 2 inches in diameter.
Rather large.






posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 07:14 AM
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Off topic a little, but has anyone found a photo of a giant huntsman spider? NOT a regular one, but the 30cm job.
All i can find is a photo on wikipedia that shows a spider not in comparison to anything. I have these in my house here all the time but they are usually the 4 to 6 inch variety.

I wish they would find a fossil of a very large spider. Which brings me to a question. I remember watching on discovery some years back about animals from early history. One was about insects wherein they described a spider that was about the size of a football. If this is the largest fossil they have how the hell can they make such a claim about the one in the discovery channel program? Intellectually disingenuous if you ask me.



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 07:18 AM
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Originally posted by snowen20
Off topic a little, but has anyone found a photo of a giant huntsman spider? NOT a regular one, but the 30cm job.
All i can find is a photo on wikipedia that shows a spider not in comparison to anything. I have these in my house here all the time but they are usually the 4 to 6 inch variety.

I wish they would find a fossil of a very large spider. Which brings me to a question. I remember watching on discovery some years back about animals from early history. One was about insects wherein they described a spider that was about the size of a football. If this is the largest fossil they have how the hell can they make such a claim about the one in the discovery channel program? Intellectually disingenuous if you ask me.


Like this? haha made me laugh





posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 07:19 AM
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Can you post a link to your source..Did i miss it?



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 07:21 AM
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Originally posted by mblahnikluver
Can you post a link to your source..Did i miss it?


Sorry, my bad


Story
edit on 22/03/2011 by Alpal because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 07:23 AM
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Dont worry SPiders are analgesic of the traits of modern man hence they have been since the dawn of time weaving their Matrix webs and so they will be weaving at the end of time... lol



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 07:29 AM
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I got quite a few golden orbs in my garden, their webs are just...massive. Whatever you do don't walk into one, its like walking into strands if wire. The golden orb itself is not dangerous to humans, and they have the most amazing colors...bright yellow mixed with black. Big scary bastards they can be, but they've become cute and cuddly to me over the years



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 07:44 AM
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Hmmmm maybe this fossilized orb spider is the great great great great (etc) mother of the orb spider that weaves its web in my back yard


While 15 cm really doesnt sound that big I had to go find a ruler and do the conversion.. thats a little over 5 inches. In my book thats a pretty big spider! Its nifty to know that they have been around this long.



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 07:49 AM
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reply to post by Alpal
 


No ,that's not a big one.
I mean really big, like a face hugger alien on steroids.

The one in the picture is my house right now crawling around by my television and I have only recently accepted their existence as less than deadly..........................but I may still kill him I haven't decided yet.

Once i watched a youtube video about how docile they were and reluctant to bite and all that jazz I cooled down a lot.



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 09:26 AM
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Why oh why did I open a thread about I spider? I actually didn't expect to feel as freaked out by the fossil as I was. Alpal's picture further down didn't help much either
Bad Alpal!



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 02:47 PM
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I've just seen this on the Daily Mail and i thought the fossil was going to be bigger then it was.



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 04:46 PM
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LOL was expecting it to be bigger than that.


A long time ago, my Dad used to open up the new coalfaces down a mine and he would often bring me fossils home when I was a kid. He still swears he once found a fossilised spider, big as a dinner plate - but it was stuck up a corner somehow where he couldn't get to it.


peace
J



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