KU professor describes newly discovered prehistoric spider - KCTV5 News

KU professor describes newly discovered prehistoric spider

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(Submitted to KCTV5) (Submitted to KCTV5)

Dr. Paul Selden studies spiders at the University of Kansas. Very old, prehistoric arachnids, to be precise.

Recently, a colleague in Myanmar found something unique: A 100-million-year-old arachnid trapped in an ancient blob of tree resin.

“They sent it to me and some other colleagues because we'd seen a similar spider before,” Selden said.

However, they'd never seen anything like the newly discovered prehistoric species of spider.

"It had this bizarre tail," he said.

Selden and his colleagues named it Chimerarachne, after a creature from Greek mythology.

“The chimera,” Selden explained, “a mythological beast made of more than one animal.”

The spider is only about 7 millimeters long, including its tail, but Selden said it represents an important link in the evolutionary chain.

“It's the way we can trace the different steps in that path, from the early to the more advanced,” he said.

He and his colleagues hope to find other specimens like it.

The KU professor believes it may have relatives alive in Myanmar today. Don't worry, though; they're not as scary as they look.

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