Korean fossil searchers found long-head spiders conserved in rock. Surprisingly, the spider’s eyes are still glowing after more than 100 million years of fossilization. According to the paper published in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology, there are very fewer records of spider fossils. It is because spiders have soft bodies which do not preserve well. It is the first time that one cluster of spiders has been spotted in the form of fossils. Besides, it is the first time the reflective eye tissue of a spider has been discovered in a fossil. But still, the question remains the same, how these delicate insects become fossilized?
A shale present on the Korean peninsula contained eleven spiders in fossilized form. The area of shale is the Lower Cretaceous Jinju Formation, South Korea. Two spiders contain remains of mysteriously sparkling eyes. They had a reflective layer which throws light from the back of the eye via retina. Researchers call the reflective eye structure as tapetum, creatures use it to hunt in the dark. Paul Selden, study’s co-author, said spiders with really big eyes are jumping spiders with regular eyes. Whereas, wolf spiders are those with reflective eyes. Their eyes glow in the night like cats and dogs. Paul is the director of the Paleontological Institute at Kansas University’s Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum.
Scientists found the fossilized spider in a layer of rock filled with fish and other sea creatures. Although, spiders do not reside in water. Selden said some modern spiders have a tapetum feature in their eyes, but the new research is the first to represent the feature in a preserved spider. Researchers said the spiders lived between 110 and 113 million years ago. They also discovered that the spiders belong to seven various types of species. The sample revealed quite remarkable preservation of canoe-shaped species pieces of tapetum. According to Selden, the shale secured the spider fossils in a way that sheds light on the reflective nature of tapetum. Though, that may have disappeared if the spiders had been preserved in amber.
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