100-Million-Year-Old Spider Attack Found Fossilized in Amber

100-Million-Year-Old Spider Attack Found Fossilized in Amber

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Researchers have found what they say is the only fossil ever discovered of a spider attack on prey caught in its web – a 100 million-year-old snapshot of an engagement frozen in time. The extraordinarily rare fossils are in a piece of amber that preserved this event in remarkable detail, an action that took place in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar in the Early Cretaceous between 97-110 million years ago, almost certainly with dinosaurs wandering nearby.

Aside from showing the first and only fossil evidence of a spider attacking prey in its web, the piece of amber also contains the body of a male spider in the same web. This provides the oldest evidence of social behavior in spiders, which still exists in some species but is fairly rare. Most spiders have solitary, often cannibalistic lives, and males will not hesitate to attack immature species in the same web.

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