Spider or Scorpion? This Prehistoric Beast is Both

Image: GeologyIn.com

Your worst nightmare – or maybe your new favorite pet – has recently been discovered in Myanmar, where paleobiologists identified four distinct specimens of a previously unidentified arachnid species trapped in amber.

Of course, this mini-monster (it’s only a few millimeters long) has been extinct for many millions of years… but hey, we’re all familiar with the Jurassic franchise, and we also know DNA sequencing is a thing now, so who knows if these critters might be back! As Dr. Malcolm reminded us, life always finds a way.

The specimens, which date back to the Cretaceous period (which came after the Jurassic), look like a bizarre hybrid of spider and scorpion, and two separate research teams have identified the creatures as an offshoot of Uraraneida – a proto-arachnid which predates the very first spiders.

But this particular species, named Chimerachne yingi (“chimera spider”), is believed to have co-existed with spiders around 100 million years ago, and possesses a “tail” appendage which experts believe would eventually lead to the modern scorpion’s stinger and the web-extruding “spinnerets” of today’s spiders.

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