When scientists look at ancient fossils, we usually only see flat, sketchy outlines of the creatures they are investigating. But a team at Imperial College London has turned an ancient fossil of a spider into an amazing 3D model.
This 8-legged creature, thought to be an ancient ancestor of modern spiders, roamed the rain forests around 300 million years ago, even before dinosaurs appeared on Earth. The creatures are called Cryptomartus hindi, and they are believed to be among the earliest creatures that crawled on the surface of the earth after life left the oceans.
The models are made of compiled CT scan images of the entire fossil. The images allow the researchers to get the full picture of the organism being studied and craft these kinds of 3D nightmare fuel images.
The model also taught researchers a bit about the habits of these spiders. The ancient Cryptomarti had grabbing arms in the front, indicating that the spiders would ambush prey and grab them with these claws. This mode of attack is similar to modern crab spiders, which hang out on the edge of flowers to grab their prey.
In a paper published in Biology Letters, the team also indicates that this technology will be applied to older fossils, giving scientists a chance to terrify us with even more detailed images of ancient monsters. I can't wait!
Scary Ancient 'Spiders' Revealed In 3D Models, With New Imaging Technique [via ScienceDaily]