Unexpectedly Intriguing!
August 6, 2009

Scientists have taken to applying cutting edge 3-D x-ray imaging technology to fossilized ancestral spider remains (HT: Physorg):

Scientists at Imperial College London have created detailed 3D computer models of two fossilised specimens of ancient creatures called Cryptomartus hindi and Eophrynus prestvicii, closely related to modern-day spiders. The study reveals some of the physical traits that helped them to hunt for prey and evade predators.

Here are images of the two species (videos of the 3-D computer image models are available here):

Cryptomartus hindi Eophrynus prestvicii
Cryptomartus hindi Eophrynus prestvicii

The team analyzing the spider fossils used CT scanning technology to create some 3,000 x-ray images of the ancient spider fossils, from which the three-dimensional computer models were created.

Although that's the cool part, the scientists don't miss the opportunity to provide us with the information that will forever haunt our subconscious:

The study's lead author, Mr Russell Garwood, PhD student from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, says:

"Our models almost bring these ancient creatures back to life and it's really exciting to be able to look at them in such detail. Our study helps build a picture of what was happening during this period early in the history of life on land. We think one creature could have responded to increasing predation from the amphibians by growing spikes, while the other responded by becoming an ambush predator, hiding away and only exposing itself when it had to come out to eat."

Comforting thoughts, right? Hey, what's that on your arm?...

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