Threads tethered juveniles to parent, fossil suggests
D. Briggs et al/PNAS 2016
Family ties last 430 million years — at least for one newly discovered arthropod species.
Researchers discovered the fossilized remains of Aquilonifer spinosus encased in carbonate from a formation called the Herefordshire Lagerstätte in England. Shields covered the 9.5-millimeter arthropod from head to tail, and long spines protruded from its armor. But that’s not all: A closer look with 3-D imaging revealed 10 tiny arthropods, ranging in size from 0.5 to 2 millimeters in length, strung to the armor like kites.