Aug 6, 2009

-FUPPETS- Loves Spiders

Spiders are the best. While they may be venomous, they keep the insect population in check, eating pesky mosquitoes and moths and all sorts of other creatures. Spiders and their relatives have been around on planet Earth for over 300 million years. In comparison, hominids like us have been around for around a million years, with modern Homo Sapiens appearing around one hundred thousand years ago.
Consider yourself lucky not to have been around during the age of the giant spiders! The proto-spider below, imaged from a fossil, is called Cryptomartus hindi. (click to enlarge)

Scientists at Imperial College London have created detailed 3D computer models of two fossilised specimens of ancient creatures called Cryptomartus hindi and Eophrynus prestvicii, closely related to modern-day spiders. The study reveals some of the physical traits that helped them to hunt for prey and evade predators.
The researchers created their images by using a CT scanning device, which enabled them to take 3,000 x-rays of each fossil. These x-rays were then compiled into precise 3D models, using custom-designed software. - ( Science Daily )

This is an amazing technique for imaging fossils that will continue to provide new data, even on old, previously studied fossils.
These creatures lived in what is now called the Carboniferous Period, before the rise of the dinosaurs. They were about the size of a 50 pence piece, or an American quarter. Here is a picture for size comparison. The 50 pence piece is on the left.

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