Computers help scientists see 49-million-year-old spider
Using the latest computer imaging technology, scientists have produced pictures of a 49-million year spider that had been hidden in dark amber.
The breakthrough is particularly revelatory since the spider — a Huntsman spider — is rarely caught in tree resin due to its strength and speed.
Insects, arachnids and other small creatures are commonly caught in tree resin which then becomes amber. While amber fossilizes the unlucky critter, it provides scientists with a look at species at different points in history.
Computer image of fossil spiderThe challenge, however, comes from the amber itself which darkens over time as it interacts with oxygen. This makes it increasingly difficult to see creatures trapped in amber, minimizing their uses in research.