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Palaeontology

Largest ever spider fossil discovered

By T.K. Randall
April 21, 2011 · Comment icon 17 comments



Image Credit: Paul Selden
A giant prehistoric spider fossil has found with a 6-inch legspan that lived 165 million years ago.
The massive arachnid would have lived in the forests of China when the climate was a long warmer than it is today, scientists believe that only the female spider would have reached such a size and that the males were relatively small in comparison.
The Golden Orb Weaver has been named Nephila jurassica. It lived in the forests of northern China when the climate was much warmer and more tropical than today.


Source: Telegraph | Comments (17)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by marharthm 12 years ago
What? Only 6 inches?
Comment icon #9 Posted by Venonat 12 years ago
What? Only 6 inches?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Cards 12 years ago
I think you forgot the " prehistoric " spider bit , the oldest tarantula fossils are Miocene in age or about 16 million years old , where as this thing was 160 million years old or so . Hope this helps . TiP. Alright, thanks for the clarification. I'm sure these news sites deliberately use ambiguous headlines like this (note that "prehistoric" is lacking from the title on numerous iterations of this article) to pique the interest of people and draw them in.
Comment icon #11 Posted by snuffypuffer 12 years ago
Six inches, twelve inches, does it really matter when we're talking about freaking spiders?
Comment icon #12 Posted by sarah snow 12 years ago
HN- you meanie! I still have a real fright of them, but it's alright actually. I keep a big measuring jug handy and manage to evict them. Blimey though, it makes me sweat even with a surface between us!! Isn't that silly? But they do!
Comment icon #13 Posted by Smithers 12 years ago
Lord, I hate spiders. lol I would have a heart attack if i ever saw something like that.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Drakester 12 years ago
It's a shame that Megarachne wasn´t a spider after all, but some sort of sea scorpion-thingy. But hey, Nephila jurassica still scary! Some modern day golden orb-weavers have been known to capture birds in their webs: And Nephila jurassica lived among small arboreal dinosaurs like Epidendrosaurus and Scansoriopteryx, which may have ended up as the spider's dinner once in a while. That's a dinosaur-eating spider, folks XD
Comment icon #15 Posted by prysim1972 12 years ago
I think the point was it is the largest FOSSIL FOUND not the largest spider
Comment icon #16 Posted by Parasitic_Kitworm 12 years ago
Oh man...Just as I thought I was even slightly defeating my arachnapobia, I am proven wrong..so, so very wrong...
Comment icon #17 Posted by HerNibs 12 years ago
I think the point was it is the largest FOSSIL FOUND not the largest spider Yeah, but that isn't as much fun. Nibs


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