An incredible creature has been discovered encased in Amber in Southeast Asia, and researchers estimated that it dates back to the Cretaceous period, which was around 100 million years ago. The strange creature appears to be a cross between a spider and a scorpion, two creatures that inspire fear in many humans.
Samples of spiders and similar creatures are often found in amber deposits taken from mines across Myanmar, and other nearby regions, but this is the first find of its kind.
Experts believe that this discovery could close major gaps in our understanding of evolution in arachnids, which are a group of eight-legged invertebrates that includes scorpions, ticks, and spiders. Over the past several years, researchers have been learning more about the evolution of these creatures through samples collected in conditions like this, and have discovered other possible species.
A few years ago, two paleobiologists at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology in China were sold a variety of different amber samples from traders in the region, and among them was a 5-millimeter-long specimen which they eventually named Chimerachne yingi (“chimera spider” in Latin).
The most interesting thing about this specimen is that it is a spider that is shaped similar to a scorpion, with a segmented abdomen and a long tail that is very similar to a scorpion's whip.
“These things appear to be essentially spiders with tails!” says Jason Bond, an evolutionary biologist at Auburn University in Alabama.
It is possible that this creature is related to the camel spider, which actually still roams the earth today. Camel spiders do not have a whip or tail as scorpions do, but they do have a very similar torso.
The scientists who made this discovery published their research and the photo included in the journal, Nature Ecology & Evolution.