Attacking Spider Caught in Amber 100 Million Years Ago

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Oct. 9 2012 3:34 PM

Attacking Spider Caught in Amber 100 Million Years Ago

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Screenshot from Historical Biology.

Researchers have discovered a 100-million-year-old fossil of a spider attacking its prey, a snapshot of time that took place as dinosaurs lumbered nearby.

Summing up the find in Historical Biology, a professor emeritus from Oregon State University said "this juvenile spider was going to make a meal out of a tiny parasitic wasp, but never quite got to it." As the spider went in for the kill, tree resin covered both, preserving them in amber. At least 15 unbroken strands of spider silk that ensnared the wasp were also caught in the amber.

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Researchers say the amber dates back to the Early Cretaceous period, about 97 million to 110 million years ago, and both the spider and wasp species are now extinct.

Videos curated by Slate staff.