October 24, 2017

World’s largest spider fossil found in China

Even though she is 165 million years old she still has the power to freak out arachnophobes.

Scientists affiliated to the Capital Normal University in Beijing have revealed a Chinese spider they say is the biggest fossilised arachnid yet found.

The spider was found encased in volcanic ash at the bottom of what would have been a lake, in the Chinese autonimous region of Inner Mongolia.

“She is the largest known fossil spider,” said Professor Paul Selden from the US, University of Kansas. Selden is carrying out the fossil research in association with professors ChungKun Shih, and Dong Ren.

The fossil is of a female, golden orb weaver spider, which lived about 165 million years ago. These spiders are common today and make webs of up to 1.5 metres in diameter using a very tough, golden coloured silk.

Her legspan front to back is 15cm, and she has been named Nephila Jurassica. Not only is she the biggest, but Miss Nephilia is also the oldest. The previous oldest spider fossil found is 35 million years old.

The researchershave published their research in the Royal Society journal, Biology Letters.