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Oldest Spider Discovered by Paleontologists in Rostov Region
25.12.2013 16:01
Oldest Spider Discovered by Paleontologists in Rostov Region
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Russian scientists have found the most ancient spider in coal formations of the Rostov Region. Its age makes about 315 million years.

      An article with description of the find has been published in the Palontologische Zeitschrift magazine. The article was co-authored by Dmitry Scherbakov and Kirill Eskov from the Paleontology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences together with their German and American colleagues.

      Fossil spiders from carbon of Europe and North America have been known since the 19th century. However, finds of spiders of the Carboniferous Period in the territory of the former USSR are much rarer. The article authors managed to bridge lacuna by having found four Paleozoic arachnoids in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine at once.

      The most ancient of them was found in the outskirts of the Kamensk-Shakhtinsky town of the Rostov Region. It is an isolated carapace (a protective part covering a spider’s forebody) about 6 millimeters long. Judging by the carapace mould it belonged to Arthrolycosa spider from the archaic suborder Mesothelae. Representatives of this group have lived up to now, having kept, unlike other spiders, external segmentation of the hindbody. Judging by the age of deposits (about 315 million years old) Arthrolycosa from the Rostov Region is the most ancient spider from all those known today.

      It is a reminder that the most ancient arachnoids are about 520 million years old: they appeared in the Cambrian Period.

      Recently Chinese paleontologists have reconstructed their nervous system.

Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Paleontology Rostov Region Spiders   

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