Unusual ancient spider with tail discovered by scientists in Myanmar

Chimerarachne yingi fossil

Chimerarachne yingi fossil

It has eight legs and fangs.

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.

"Our new fossil most likely represents the earliest branch of spiders, and implies that there was a lineage of tailed spiders that presumably originated in the Paleozoic (the geological era that ended 251 million years ago) and survived at least into the Cretaceous of Southeast Asia", Wang added.

Also, scientists aren't sure if it's poisonous because their fangs are not large enough to examine.

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Had there been any humans alive during the dinosaur age, they may not have been too scared of the spiders as they were all just 2.5 millimetres long - excluding the almost 3 millimetre-long tail. A new, weird spider-like creature has just been discovered in Southeast Asia, having been encased in amber during the Cretaceous period some 100 million years ago, and it might be more terrifying than any of the creepy-crawlies lurking in the dark corners of your basement. Amber is nature's time capsule, providing a glimpse of whatever plants or animals became trapped in resin before it fossilized.

The first Uraraneida fossil was discovered in NY state in the USA in 1987 and was initially misidentified as a spider. They only measured 2.5 millimeters in length with a tail longer than its body at 3 millimeters.

Its tail was longer that its body and was used as a sensory device to seek out prey or escape predators. The researchers write that "there must have been a continuum of character reduction and character acquisition" along the line of evolutionary development that led to modern spiders. But no living spiders have tails.

The new species has been given the scientific name Chimerachne yingi, which translates to "chimaera spider". But experts disagree about how these fossils relate to modern-day spiders, because there's something odd about their crumpled corpses: all four of them have tails.

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Selden also noted that increased production of amber in northern Myanmar gave the team a great hint as to where they might potentially find more prehistoric creatures. On the basis of the creature's tail, they conclude that it belongs to the Uraraneida, a group of spider relatives that was thought to have gone extinct around 275 million years ago. If they live in burrows and leave, they leave a trail so they can find their way back.

Spiders went up into the air when the insects went up into the air. It's unknown if they made webs like we associate with modern spiders.

"It makes us wonder if these may still be alive today", Selden said.

"Chimerarachne fills the gap between Palaeozoic arachnids with tails known from rocks (uraraneids) and true spiders, and the fact the new fossils have been wonderfully preserved in Burmese amber has allowed an unmatched detail of study", he said.

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"We haven't found them", he says in the University of Kansas statement, "but some of these forests aren't that well-studied, and it's only a tiny creature".

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