A mysterious ancient specimen at the Berlin Natural History Museum has finally been identified thanks to the latest computer imaging technology (see video above). The spider, which was trapped in amber 49 million years ago, can barely be seen under a microscope since the hardened resin has darkened and cracked over time. But David Penney and his team from the University of Manchester were able to peer inside it using X-ray computed tomography (CT), revealing the animal in a high level of detail.
Before this analysis, the specimen was thought to be the oldest example of a huntsman spider. However many challenged this claim since the spiders move quickly and are seldom caught in amber. Now the 3D images have confirmed its identity by comparing the specimen to living spiders.
Story: NewScientist | Photo: NewScientist