A spider fossil recently found in Australia is between 11 and 16 million years old. the genus Megamonodontium mccluskyi.
Its size would be different from today’s normal spiders, being five times larger. with a 10mm shell and 50mm tip to tip.
“Only four spider fossils have been found across the entire continent, making it difficult for scientists to understand their evolutionary history. That’s why this discovery is so significant; it reveals new information about the extinction of these spiders and fills a gap in our understanding of the past.” Matthew McCurry, who works at the Australian Museum and the University of New South Wales,
On the other hand, McCurry noted that this fossil’s closest relative occurs in moist forests. from Singapore to New Guinea.
“This suggests that the group once inhabited similar habitats on the Australian mainland but later became extinct as Australia became increasingly arid,he added.
The Importance of Discovery
This discovery is very important to the scientific community of arachnologists because it is not only the largest fossil spider in Australia, but it would be the first discovery of the family Barychelidae anywhere in the world.
“There are about 300 species of brush-footed trapdoor spiders alive today, but they don’t seem to become fossils very often. “This could be because they spend a lot of time in caves and are therefore not in a suitable environment for fossilization,” said Matthew McCurry.
Additionally, University of Canbarra Associate Professor Michael Frese explained that the microphotography used to scan the fossils revealed surprising and detailed preservation.
“Using scanning electron microscopy, we were able to examine the smallest details of the claws and bristles of the spider’s pedipalps, legs, and main body. Mushrooms are hair-like structures that can have a variety of functions. “They can detect chemicals and vibrations, defend the spider against attackers, and even produce sounds,” he added.