While trapdoor spiders can come in all kinds of different sizes, like the massive and nightmarish Euoplos dignitas, or the much smaller brush-footed trapdoor spider, like those found in Australia. Now, though, a new giant trapdoor spider fossils has given us a glimpse at an ancestor of the brush-footed, which is estimated to be four times larger than the modern day species.
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The new fossil showcases that the ancient trapdoot spider, which has been named Megamonodontium mccluskyi, has a body that is roughly 23. 31 millimeters in size – just under an inch. However, with its legs spread out, researchers believe it could probably fit comfortably in the palm of someone’s hand.
While that might not sound big, it’s roughly four times larger than the current species of brush-footed trapdoor spider found in Australia, showcasing the evolution of these spiders as they grew smaller over the past several million years. That’s because this particular giant trapdoor spider fossil is estimated to be around 11 to 16 million years old.
The giant trapdoor spider fossil was discovered in New South Wales, Australia in McGraths Flat. It is the only spider fossil ever discovered in Australia, as well as the first specimen of the species. Even though the spider isn’t quite as big as others, this discovery still represents a major find, since we have very little information about ancient spider fossils.
Not only does this discovery reveal new information about the extinction of ancient giant trapdoor spiders, but it also fills a gap in our understanding of the past, and how these spiders have changed over the years. There are roughly 300 different species of brush-footed trapdoor spiders alive in the world today. They don’t have a good fossilization rate. This discovery has a great deal of significance for the understanding of their past.
A paper on the discovery is available in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.
The post Fossil of giant trapdoor spider is four times larger than modern species appeared first on BGR.