Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Spider blood found in 20 million year old fossil


A scientist from the University of Manchester has discovered the first identified droplets of spider blood in a piece of amber up to 20 million years old.

Two droplets of blood, technically known as haemolymph, have been preserved in the amber which also contains the spider – Filistatidae – a family commonly found in South America and the Caribbean.

The droplets are the first identified examples of spider blood ever found in an amber fossil. It is possible the blood could be used to extract DNA.

The fossil, which is 4cm long and 2cm wide, was discovered in the Dominican Republic and dates back to the Miocene period.

Palaeontologist Dr David Penney, of the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, has now used the blood droplets to trace how, when, and where the spider died all those years ago.

David, said: “It’s amazing to think that a single piece of amber with a single spider in it can open up window into what was going on 20 million years ago.

“By analysing the position of the spider’s body in relation to the droplets of blood in the amber we are able to determine how it died, which direction it was travelling in and even how fast it was moving.”

In the latest issue of the journal Palaeontology (2005, vol. 48, part 5) David describes how the spider died. He believes the spider was climbing up a tree when it was struck head-on by a sudden strong flow of resin. The spider then became engulfed in the resin and died.

He argues that the shape and position of the blood droplets reveals which direction the spider was travelling in. It also reveals which of the spider’s legs broke first.

David discovered the fossil in 2003 during a visit to the Museo del Ambar Dominicano in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. His research initially focused on the spider which he identified as an entirely new species of spider. On his return to the UK, further research revealed the droplets of blood and the information the fossil contained.

Simon Hunter | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Enormous dome in central Andes driven by huge magma body beneath it

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Deep down fracking wells, microbial communities thrive

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>