Sunday, 29 May 2011

A ”49-Million-Year-Old” Spider Trapped in Amber Looks Just Like Modern Spiders

An ancient spider could probably have woven a web like this. Image courtesy of

Joel Kontinen

Using X-ray computed tomography, a team of British and German researchers published images of a Huntsman spider (Sparassidae) that was trapped in amber ”49 million years” ago.

Computed tomography produced 3D images and movies of astounding quality, which allowed us to compare the finest details of the amber fossil with similar-looking living spiders,” explained Dr. David Penney of the University of Manchester, who was a member of the research team.

The details were so precise that they were able to classify the fossil as a Huntsman spider that still lives in the tropics.

The researchers published their paper in the journal Naturwissenscaften.

The take-home message of the discovery is that the Huntsman spider is a living fossil that has hardly changed at all in ”49 million years”.

In the same time frame human ancestors are thought to have evolved from roughly rat-sized creatures to become modern H. sapiens. However, this has more to do with faith in naturalistic processes than in anything else.

It seems that the ever-increasing number of living fossils might make it more and more difficult to believe in Darwinian evolution.


Imaging technology reveals intricate details of 49-million-year-old spider. EurekAlert! 18 May 2011.