Academic journal article Science Scope

Walk like an Arachnid

Academic journal article Science Scope

Walk like an Arachnid

Article excerpt

Scientists have re-created the walking gait of a 410-million-year-old arachnid, one of the first predators on land, based on fossil evidence. Researchers used exceptionally preserved fossils from the Natural History Museum in London to create the video showing the most likely walking gait of the animal.

The scientists used the fossils--thin slices of rock showing the animal's cross-section--to work out the range of motion in the limbs of this ancient, extinct early relative of the spiders. From this, and comparisons to living arachnids, the researchers used an open-source computer graphic program called Blender to create the video showing the animals walking.

"When it comes to early life on land, long before our ancestors came out of the sea, these early arachnids were top dog of the food chain," says author Russell Garwood, a palaeontologist in the University of Manchester's School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences. 'They are now extinct, but from about 300 to 400 million years ago seem to have been more widespread than spiders. …

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