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Researchers find 100 million year old spider-attack

Scientists have discovered something quite peculiar; a block of amber which contains the freeze frame of a spider attack from 100 million years ago. 

Like something out of Jurassic Park, researchers have captured what looks like a spider about to attack a wasp, in a 100 million year old piece of Amber. The wasp had been caught in the spider's web, something evidenced from 15 strands of still intact spider's silk in the amber. The spider had then approached the trapped wasp, but before it could attack, tree sap had fallen onto the web, encasing them both. The tree sap hardened, and over millions of years turned into amber.

The fossil in question


This discovery is the first find of it's kind, as no other fossil records have shown an actual spider attack in progress (there are however, records of animals trapped in spider webs, sans the spider). The fossil also contains another spider elsewhere on the web, making it the earliest potential evidence of social behavior in spiders. The fossil was found in a Burmese mine and dated to the early cretaceous period (the last era of dinosaurs), between 97 and 110 million years ago.

Both species, unsurprisingly, are extinct today; however, the wasp belongs to a group whose modern day counterparts parasitize spider eggs. It is possible the older species did as well, which would make the wasps demise a somewhat ironic predicament. The spider belongs to a group of orb weaver spiders.

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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