Old spiders move – level 3

16-07-2014 15:00

If you’ve got a fear of spiders, look away now, as scientists have brought ancient spiders back to life using 3D graphics.

Using well-preserved fossils, researchers from the University of Manchester and a museum in Berlin worked out how the extinct early relative of spiders would have moved.

The spider-like creatures, known as Trigonotarbid, would have lived 410 million years ago. They were some of the first predators to dominate on land, meaning they would have been at the top of the food chain.

Scientists who studied the ancient fossils were able to see their leg joints and work out a range of motion in the limbs. Researchers used an open-source computer graphic program to create the video showing how the creatures walked.

They reckon the spiders’ prey would have been early flightless insects and say they would vomit digested enzymes on their prey and then suck up the liquid as food. Nice.

Difficult words: ancient (very old), extinct (there are no more of them), relative (similar to another animal), joint (part of the body where two bones meet), creature (animal), reckon (think), prey (hunted animal), flightless (to have no ability to fly), vomit (to bring food out of your stomach), digest (consume), enzyme (chemical substance which helps you digest).

Source: www.itn.co.uk


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