Feeds

back to article Fossil reveals spider in mid-strike

A hundred million years ago, an amber flow spoiled a spider’s day: it had waited, possibly for hours, to ambush a wasp in its web, and just as it decided to strike, spider, wasp and web were all trapped forever. The good news for us is that it’s turned up at a dig in Myanmar's Hukawng Valley, and here's what it looks like: …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge

Nice find!

Things like this always make the fossil/mineral collector in me smile :-)

37
4

Re: Nice find!

Just thought I'd counter the unnecessary down vote you received.

Some people on here seem to be inexplicably negative about perfectly innocuous comments.

25
4
Bronze badge

Re: Nice find!

I own a tiny piece of amber with a little tiny fly in it. I used to have the details of the exact dates, etc. but can't find them now.

I find it wonderful, even if it's nowhere near as magnificent as this one. I actually kept my QX3 just so that I could look at the insect (which is very near an internal crack / impurity in the amber so is difficult to spot from some angles).

It always makes me wonder just how they get caught in it - I mean, did it drop from the tree onto their heads (surely that would squish them slightly), did it ooze around them (and then you'd have expected the spider to let go or be seen to be moving away), or what?

My tiny fly, hell, it could have been dead before it even ended up in there - it's hard to tell. But this one makes amber take on a whole new menace for insects. Future sci-fi plot anyone?

9
0
Silver badge
Pint

"It always makes me wonder just how they get caught in it"

I blame Walter Bishop.

(Beer icon, because Fosters always claimed it was "the amber nectar".)

2
0
Pint

Re: Nice find!

> It always makes me wonder just how they get caught in it

It starts out as pine sap which is fairly runny but very sticky, it's basically varnish. The initial impact wouldn't be much worse than getting hit by a large rain drop, but it builds up as the drips keep coming.

Beer icon as it used to get tested by a chap in leather trousers sitting on a wooden bench with a puddle of beer on it. If he stuck to the bench when he tried to stand up it was acceptable beer...

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Nice find!

"But this one makes amber take on a whole new menace for insects"

Never mind insects - maybe the Ruskies could use it to help out with the problem of keeping Lenin in good shape. Pour a few gallons of tree resin round him, and let it set, and he'd be good for the next hundred million years, a bit like Plastikraft, but more organic.

Anyone else deserving of a dip?

1
0

Re: Nice find!

Wolfman Jack

0
0
Trollface

Extinction

"The spider is an orb weaver, Poinar said; relatives still exist today, although the kind in the amber is extinct."

It's extinct. Must have been global warming or anthropogenic climate change. *tsk*

3
16
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: Extinction

Yep, those pesky cavemen in their V8 sportscars!

Could've been wearing a mammoth wool fleece on a cold morning like today if it wasn't for them!

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Extinction

Tell that to the Tasmanian natives, who survived the separation of Australia as the planet warmed approx 10,000 years ago, whilst living at one with nature, but were wiped out by European man approx 200 years ago.

4
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Extinction

"whilst living at one with nature, but were wiped out by European man"

It wasn't me, so who would you like to feel guilty in response to the touching little vignette you've crafted there?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

100 million years

Gee that spider must really be hungry by now!

0
0
Bronze badge

meal out of reach?

Hmmm......so that's where they got the acorn idea from in the Ice Age films

4
0
Silver badge

Re: meal out of reach?

Just....a little....closer.....

0
0
JDX
Gold badge

In the bottom right, is that the hairy leg of a much bigger spider?

2
0
Anonymous Coward

He missed his vocation

"The wasp was watching the spider just as it was about to be attacked, when tree resin flowed over and captured both of them"

should have gone for a career in script writing for tv commercials.

Actually, the wasp's looking the other way, hence "trembling in anticipation of sealing fate, as the spider pounced, and the resin gushed in to entomb them both, once and for all"

0
0

Re: He missed his vocation

I'm not the only one who has the music from the old Castrol GTX advert in his head, am I? :-)

3
0
Silver badge

Re: He missed his vocation

But resin doesn't gush, it tends to do a rolling ooze. I have a feeling this stuff probably swept up one of them and then the other so they were close together in the amber by accident.

0
0
Silver badge

@Tom 7 (was: Re: He missed his vocation)

"But resin doesn't gush, it tends to do a rolling ooze."

You've never hit a 25+ gallon sap pocket in a big pine with a chainsaw, have you? I have, twice. It's about 90% water when it comes out. If you can hose off in a hurry, it's not all that bad on a personal level ... but the clothes/gear you were wearing are toast. Took the better part of a day to clean the saw, both times.

1
1
Unhappy

angry face

is it just me or does the spider appear to have an angry face. I'd reckon that I'd be pretty annoyed too though.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

A scale would be useful . .

You know; for people who don't know the size of extinct spiders and wasps.

1
0
JDX
Gold badge

Re: A scale would be useful . .

Back in the good old days, wagon wheels and wasps were much bigger.

6
0

Re: A scale would be useful . .

I'd say it was about yay big.

2
0

The wasp is a relative of species which today are parasites on both spiders and their eggs.

I know revenge is a dish best served cold but really, that's some planning on the wasp's part...

5
0

Re: The wasp is a relative of species which today are parasites on both spiders and their eggs.

Parasitic wasps are really really nasty. I believe John Hurt played the part of the spider/caterpillar in a film once...

0
0
Bronze badge

Seems a bit fishy to me

Looks much more likely that the spider and the wasp were trapped separately and were brought together by the flowing sap.

3
0

Not fishy

Spidery. Or waspy.

1
0
Bronze badge

Maybe fishy

That big hairy thing might be an extinct species of big hairy eel.

0
0
Bronze badge
Pint

Eugh.

Spiders, Wasps and Amber Nectar - Three on my list of my least favorite things.

0
0

Fossil?

I didn't think creatures trapped in amber were fossils, since they are not replaced by stone, but rather are preserved basically in stasis.

0
0
Bronze badge
Childcatcher

Re: Fossil?

Nah, a fossil just refers to what is left behind marking the existence of a living thing from a "former geologic age." Other good examples of those not formed by tissue replacement are footprints left in mud that later solidified into rock or the early legislation of politicians who have served since the time of the dinosaurs.

2
0

Re: Fossil?

Traditionally, the definition of a fossil appears to require petrified form, which amber-entombed insects etc are not, however it seems this has relaxed - i.e. depends whose dictionary one takes as canon.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

This is impossible

According Rep Paul the earth is only 6,000 years old.....

This is one of those few times I am embarrassed to be an American.

But I suppose this proves our democracy works - if this idiot can get elected than anyone can. {}:>]]

0
1
Silver badge
Devil

Bush Jr. already proved that.

You can stop proving that point now, we get it.

0
1
This topic is closed for new posts.