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Largest Fossil Spider Found in Volcanic Ash
Yahoo! News ^ | Charles Q. Choi, LiveScience Contributor

Posted on 04/21/2011 7:31:32 PM PDT by greatdefender

The largest fossil spider uncovered to date once ensnared prey back in the age of dinosaurs, scientists find.

The spider, named Nephila jurassica, was discovered buried in ancient volcanic ash in Inner Mongolia, China. Tufts of hairlike fibers seen on its legs showed this 165-million-year-old arachnid to be the oldest known species of the largest web-weaving spiders alive today — the golden orb-weavers, or Nephila, which are big enough to catch birds and bats, and use silk that shines like gold in the sunlight.

The fossil was about as large as its modern relatives, with a body one inch (2.5 centimeters) wide and legs that reach up to 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) long. Golden orb-weavers nowadays are mainly tropical creatures, so the ancient environment of Nephila jurassica probably was similarly lush. [Image of fossil spider]

"It would have lived, like today's Nephila, in its orb web of golden silk in a clearing in a forest, or more likely at the edge of a forest close to the lake," researcher Paul Selden, director of the Paleontological Institute at the University of Kansas, told LiveScience. "There would have been volcanoes nearby producing the ash that forms the lake sediment it is entombed within."

Spiders are the most numerous predators on land today, and help keep insect numbers in check. So these findings help us "understand the evolution of the insect-spider predator-prey relationship," Selden said, suggesting that golden orb-weavers have been ensnaring insects and influencing their evolution since the Jurassic Period. [Read: Ancient Spider Guts Revealed in 3-D]

"There were many large or medium-sized flying insects around at that time on which it would have fed indiscriminately," Selden said.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Education; Science
KEYWORDS: arachnophobia; ash; catastrophism; fossil; godsgravesglyphs; nephilajurassica; shelob; spider; volcano

1 posted on 04/21/2011 7:31:35 PM PDT by greatdefender
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To: greatdefender

I hate spiders; that however is cool.


2 posted on 04/21/2011 7:33:07 PM PDT by Michael Barnes
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG PING!


3 posted on 04/21/2011 7:35:02 PM PDT by greatdefender (If You Want Peace.....Prepare For War)
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To: greatdefender

4 posted on 04/21/2011 7:35:46 PM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour (With The Resistance...)
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To: Grizzled Bear

Humanary stew ping.


5 posted on 04/21/2011 7:36:23 PM PDT by Salamander (Insolence.....I has it.)
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To: greatdefender

That’s one old girl.


6 posted on 04/21/2011 7:36:45 PM PDT by samtheman
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To: greatdefender

7 posted on 04/21/2011 7:37:18 PM PDT by greatdefender (If You Want Peace.....Prepare For War)
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To: greatdefender

8 posted on 04/21/2011 7:37:51 PM PDT by opentalk
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To: FReepers
We Can Do This

Become A Monthly FR Donor

9 posted on 04/21/2011 7:40:45 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are at your door! How will you answer the knock?)
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour

Nuked from orbit, killed with fire...whatever works.


10 posted on 04/21/2011 7:42:11 PM PDT by Norm Lenhart
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To: greatdefender
So these findings help us "understand the evolution of the insect-spider predator-prey relationship,"

From their description, it isn't apparent that much "evolution" has taken place. Same size as now, same environment as now, same type of prey as now. 165 million years of evolution and its the same old same old. But, hey, it helps us better understand the evolution of it all.

11 posted on 04/21/2011 7:42:15 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: ClearCase_guy

This spider just shows the questionable nature of “evolution” over the span of 165 million years.


12 posted on 04/21/2011 7:44:16 PM PDT by Ken522
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To: greatdefender

13 posted on 04/21/2011 7:50:27 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: greatdefender

No wonder the dinosauers are extinct. They probably gave up in disgust when these guys showed up. Can’t blame ‘em.


14 posted on 04/21/2011 7:50:39 PM PDT by sphinx
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To: Ken522

Why’s that?


15 posted on 04/21/2011 8:04:44 PM PDT by stormer
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To: greatdefender
So where is the evolution, they still look the same today?

And for what cause is it that spiders stayed spiders and the ape family did not? I have seen TOE artwork and the ape family must have hybridized with something to have such extreme change... Globull warming must have always been with us.

16 posted on 04/21/2011 8:14:18 PM PDT by Just mythoughts
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To: greatdefender

OMG!


17 posted on 04/21/2011 8:15:37 PM PDT by Brandonmark (News Coverage)
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To: greatdefender

Hard to tell how big it is. Wish someone would have laid a quarter next to it before taking the picture.


18 posted on 04/21/2011 8:27:36 PM PDT by Minn
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To: 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; ...

Thanks greatdefender.
 
Catastrophism
 
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
 

19 posted on 04/21/2011 8:47:37 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: greatdefender; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ..

· GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach ·
· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic · subscribe ·

 
 Antiquity Journal
 & archive
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 Google
 LiveScience
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 Science Daily
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 Texas AM
 Yahoo
 Excerpt, or Link only?
 


Thanks greatdefender.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
 

· History topic · history keyword · archaeology keyword · paleontology keyword ·
· Science topic · science keyword · Books/Literature topic · pages keyword ·


20 posted on 04/21/2011 8:50:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: SunkenCiv

I really, really like spiders. Large is good.


21 posted on 04/21/2011 8:59:29 PM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: TheOldLady

I positively hate the things. I’d no sooner ever see anything bigger than a wolf spider and the 12 gauge comes out.


22 posted on 04/21/2011 9:13:40 PM PDT by wendy1946
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To: wendy1946

SUCKS = noticing the palm sized wolf spider on the outhouse wall AFTER you’re fully commited...


23 posted on 04/21/2011 9:26:37 PM PDT by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: wendy1946

I found a wolf spider in our house in Benicia, CA. What a gorgeous animal. It was so huge that I couldn’t figure out how it got in. I evicted it, as I do all spiders found in the house, but I was sorely tempted to keep it. Besides, the cats would probably have annoyed it.

Tarantulas are really cool too. South of the Carquinez Strait stands Mt. Diablo, where there are thousands of them, and during mating season, they’re all over the road leading to the top of the mountain. It’s really cool to see so many.

Spiders are vital predators, so I’m surprised that you feel that way about them.


24 posted on 04/21/2011 9:38:43 PM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: TheOldLady
I much as I hate spiders, I do have to remind myself, they eat the things that eat my house.
25 posted on 04/21/2011 9:42:31 PM PDT by NavyCanDo
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To: TheOldLady

They have cartilage rather then bone which makes them flex into very small locations if they need to.


26 posted on 04/21/2011 9:55:58 PM PDT by Steve Van Doorn (*in my best Eric cartman voice* 'I love you guys')
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To: Steve Van Doorn

Thanks. Not comforting, but thanks. I don’t mind the spiders getting in, but some other bugs aren’t welcome.


27 posted on 04/21/2011 10:06:19 PM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: TheOldLady

I wonder if the beautiful yellow and black Golden Garden Spiders are relatives of these big boys? They do keep the bugs out of spring gardens in the northeast, anyhow.


28 posted on 04/21/2011 10:32:08 PM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable -- Daniel Webster)
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To: greatdefender

That is creeping me out.


29 posted on 04/22/2011 5:13:31 AM PDT by MsLady (Be the kind of woman that when you get up in the morning, the devil says, "Oh crap, she's UP !!")
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To: Lucius Cornelius Sulla; wendy1946
They are beautiful and big. You can tell by the size of the moth.

Don't look, Wendy.


Golden Garden Spider

30 posted on 04/22/2011 5:34:28 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: Axenolith
SUCKS = noticing the palm sized wolf spider on the outhouse wall AFTER you’re fully commited...

I ain't never been that committed. I'd waddle away, drawers around the ankles to get away. I can always shower later.

31 posted on 04/22/2011 5:47:30 AM PDT by acad1228 (Palin/Watts in 2012!!!)
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To: TheOldLady

Gahhh!!!! Why did you post that??? Oh well, I didn’t really need to sleep tonight anyway.


32 posted on 04/22/2011 5:49:36 AM PDT by acad1228 (Palin/Watts in 2012!!!)
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To: acad1228
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2708710/posts?page=21#21
33 posted on 04/22/2011 6:17:24 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: greatdefender
Obligatory...


34 posted on 04/22/2011 6:25:34 AM PDT by Daffynition ("Don't just live your life, but witness it also.")
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To: greatdefender

35 posted on 04/22/2011 6:27:44 AM PDT by Daffynition ("Don't just live your life, but witness it also.")
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To: Daffynition

Aaaarrrggggghhhhhh! I won’t be sleeping soundly for quite some time now. Thanks!


36 posted on 04/22/2011 6:36:02 AM PDT by liberalh8ter
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To: All

37 posted on 04/22/2011 6:43:40 AM PDT by Squidpup ("Fight the Good Fight")
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To: liberalh8ter
Help is on the way...


38 posted on 04/22/2011 7:01:25 AM PDT by Daffynition ("Don't just live your life, but witness it also.")
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To: Daffynition

LOL. Only slightly better ;-P


39 posted on 04/22/2011 7:41:48 AM PDT by liberalh8ter
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To: mnehring

Ew ew ew ew ew.... I knew I didn’t want to click on this thread.

As for the rest of you all....

Blech.


40 posted on 04/22/2011 9:58:05 AM PDT by Grammy
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To: TheOldLady; SunkenCiv

41 posted on 04/22/2011 12:38:23 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: acad1228

Some folks don’t appreciate beauty.


42 posted on 04/22/2011 12:48:37 PM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable -- Daniel Webster)
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To: Salamander

Quick, smash it with a rolled up newspaper!


43 posted on 04/22/2011 4:12:46 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: Grizzled Bear

Why?!?

I *like* spiders and snakes.

[oh, stop looking surprised]....;]


44 posted on 04/22/2011 7:30:39 PM PDT by Salamander (*Insolence*.....I ~has~ it.)
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To: greatdefender

The funnest thing is creeping through marshy woods at night and walking into a tree-spanning web, with the spider smacking you right in the face, all cold and flabby.

That’s why I learned as a boy to hike at night with a stick held up in front of my face!


45 posted on 04/22/2011 7:35:48 PM PDT by warchild9
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To: mnehring

Those are puppets right?


46 posted on 04/23/2011 6:49:35 AM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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