A 305-million-year-old arachnid might shed some light on spider evolution.
Researchers discovered the fossilized remains of Idmonarachne brasieri curled up in ironstone from central France. The legs, mouthparts and body of the 1-centimeter-long arachnid were all spiderlike. But the ancient arthropod was missing a key feature of all true spiders: silk-spinning organs.
The team chose the creature’s moniker, Idmonarachne, to reflect its close relationship with its web-building relatives. In Greek and Roman mythology, Arachne was a weaver who was turned into a spider and Idmon was her father.