Tailed spider found in amber will crawl into your nightmares

The team found the creature perfectly preserved in amber in Myanmar (formerly Burma), and they've dated the spider to be roughly 100 million years old.

Its emergence has a new species comes courtesy of studies of prehistoric amber samples from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and studied by an worldwide team, including experts from the United Kingdom.

What makes the fossils so unusual, according to the two teams the leading studies, is that they possess both a tail-like appendage similar to those of other ancient arachnids and multi-segment silk-spinning organs only seen in more modern spiders. Chunks of it were purchased by paleontologists, who found in the amber many well-preserved spiders - some of them with long, nearly scorpion-like tails. "I$3 t is covered in short hairs, but when spiders changed to lifestyles like being sit-and-wait predators, the tail was no longer really needed and became lost". In the study, the scientists described about four species of the arachnid named as Chimerarachne Yingi who had lived around 100 million years ago during the dinosaur or Cretaceous period. But experts disagree about how these fossils relate to modern-day spiders, because there's something unusual about their crumpled corpses: all four of them have tails.

But the creature, which likely walked the Earth more than 100 million years ago, also had a tail.

And what is even more awesome, says Bond, is that the amber is only 100 million years old.

Arachnids are a group of eight-legged invertebrates that includes scorpions, ticks, and spiders. These specimens became available past year to Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology, he added. And it's not known what the tail would have been used for or if the spider was venomous.

The finding is described in a paper appearing in Nature Ecology & Evolution by an worldwide team including Paul Selden of the Paleontological Institute and Department of Geology at the University of Kansas and colleagues from China, Germany, Virginia and the United Kingdom. The scientists suspect that the spiders might have lived with the tailed spiders of arachnids side by side for about 200 million years side-by-side.

Brown said that's what researchers found with the Chimerarachne and it applies to many other species of animals.

This reconstruction shows how this amber fossil looks like it's part scorpion and part spider. The tail lends it an exotic look that spider-fearing folk will likely find unsettling.

An extraordinary new species of arachnid, resembling a spider with a tail, has been discovered suspended in amber, a pair of new studies reported Monday.

Amber can give us an unprecedented view into prehistoric life, preserving softer elements that regular fossilization just can't.

The creature's remote habitat and small size makes it possible that tailed descendants could still be living in Myanmar, where the fossils were found, said Dr Paul Selden of the University of Kansas.

Very much like today's black widows and huntsman spiders, C. yingi had silk-producing spinnerets. It makes us wonder if these may still be alive today.

"It might even be around today if you went to search for it", said Selden.

  • Essie Rivera