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308-Million-Year-Old Fossil Arachnid Is An 8-Legged Evolutionary Puzzle
IFL Science ^ | May 17, 2024 | LAURA SIMMONS

Posted on 05/17/2024 12:14:41 PM PDT by Red Badger

Not quite a spider, not a scorpion either – where does Douglassarachne acanthopoda fit in?


Douglassarachne acanthopoda was a more experimental version of a modern harvestman, with distinctive armored legs.

Image credit: Paul Selden


This leggy, spiny fella is Douglassarachne acanthopoda, whom we’ll call Doug for short (only kidding). You might look at this fossilized specimen and confidently declare, “That there’s a spider.” But wait! While D. acanthopoda certainly shares many of the characteristics of modern arachnids, it has enough unique features to give palaentologists a headache when it comes to classifying it.

Spiders and their ancestors have been around on this planet for about the last 400 million years. If you were thrust back in time to the Carboniferous and landed in the coal forests of North America or Europe, you’d probably see some critters you’d recognize as spiders, harvestmen, or scorpions. But even among that pack, D. acanthopoda would have stood out.

“Douglassarachne acanthopoda comes from the famous Mazon Creek locality in Illinois and is about 308 million years old,” said Paul Selden, lead author of a new study on this enigmatic fossil, in a statement. “This compact arachnid had a body length of about 1.5 centimeters [0.6 inches] and is characterized by its remarkably robust and spiny legs – such that it is quite unlike any other arachnid known, living or extinct.”

So unlike, in fact, that Selden and co-author Jason Dunlop were forced to conclude that it simply doesn’t fit into any of our known orders of arachnids.

“The fossil’s very spiny legs are reminiscent of some modern harvestmen, but its body plan is quite different from a harvestman or any other known arachnid group,” Dunlop explained.

This reconstruction shows how the 308-million-year-old may have looked in its heyday. Image credit: Paul Selden et al.

Being over 300 million years old, it’s understandable that the fossil is missing a few details, like clear mouthparts, which could help narrow down an appropriate classification. This period of our planet’s history is thought to have been the first when most living groups of arachnids roamed around together, and the Mazon Creek location – where D. acanthopoda was found in the 1980s – is one of our most important portals to this time.

“Whatever its evolutionary affinities, these spiny arachnids appear to come from a time when arachnids were experimenting with a range of different body plans,” Selden said. “Some of these later became extinct, perhaps during the so-called ‘Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse,’ a time shortly after the age of Mazon Creek when the coal forests began to fragment and die off. Or perhaps these strange arachnids clung on until the end Permian mass extinction?”

The fossil spent some years on display in the Prehistoric Life Museum as part of the David and Sandra Douglass Collection. And although this particular critter is proving tricky to classify, it did still need a scientific name.

“The genus name Douglassarachne acknowledges the Douglass family, who kindly donated the specimen to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago for scientific study once it became apparent that it represented an undescribed species. Then, acanthopoda refers to the unique and characteristic spiny legs of the animal,” said Dunlop.

In some places on our planet today, you almost feel that you can’t escape from spiders, no matter how hard you try (paging Australia). New species, and some we thought we’d lost, are popping up all over the shop.

But back in the day, Dunlop explains, “Spiders were a rather rare group.” Their ancestors would have shared the world stage with many impressive beasties that have long since been lost to us, with fossils our only chance now to discover their many-legged diversity.

And for Dunlop, “Douglassarachne acanthopoda is a particularly impressive example of one of these extinct forms.”

The study is published in the Journal of Paleontology.

TOPICS: History; Outdoors; Pets/Animals; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: cryptobiology; godsgravesglyphs; paleontology; spiders; ziggystardust
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1 posted on 05/17/2024 12:14:41 PM PDT by Red Badger
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To: SunkenCiv


2 posted on 05/17/2024 12:14:59 PM PDT by Red Badger (Homeless veterans camp in the streets while illegals are put up in 5 Star hotels....................)
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To: Red Badger

Ugly has been around for a while, looks like.

3 posted on 05/17/2024 12:18:11 PM PDT by ComputerGuy (Heavily-medicated for your protection)
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To: ComputerGuy

Notice that it is a fully developed creature, eyes, legs, etc.

308 million years ago it lived....................

4 posted on 05/17/2024 12:21:53 PM PDT by Red Badger (Homeless veterans camp in the streets while illegals are put up in 5 Star hotels....................)
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To: Red Badger

Or it didn’t live 308 million years ago.

5 posted on 05/17/2024 12:23:50 PM PDT by Right Brother (Pray for God's intervention to stop UMCRevMom's invasion of Free Republic.)
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To: Red Badger


It’s not that old.

Solved it.

No charge.

6 posted on 05/17/2024 12:28:58 PM PDT by Ken Regis (I concur )
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To: Red Badger
"308 million years ago it lived...................."

The Earth is not 308M years old and evolution is a bunch of BS...

7 posted on 05/17/2024 12:41:59 PM PDT by ganeemead (everything )
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To: Red Badger
Prehistoric creature
8 posted on 05/17/2024 12:50:47 PM PDT by FroggyTheGremlim (Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy!)
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To: Red Badger

Looks like a prehensile viscious bed bug to me.


9 posted on 05/17/2024 12:51:46 PM PDT by Candor7 (Ask not for whom the Trump Trolls,He trolls for thee!),<img src="" width=500</img><a href="">tag</a>)
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To: ganeemead

You’re right.

10 posted on 05/17/2024 1:05:42 PM PDT by laplata (They want each crisis to take the greatest toll possible.)
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To: ganeemead

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. This is enabled by Earth being a water world, the only one in the Solar System sustaining liquid surface water. Almost all of Earth’s water is contained in its global ocean, covering 70.8% of Earth’s crust. Wikipedia
Age: 4.543 billion years
Distance from Sun: 92.96 million mi
Mass: 5.972 × 10^24 kg
Radius: 3,958.8 mi
Land area: 57.51 million mi²
Surface area: 196.9 million mi²
Population: 7.951 billion (2022) World Bank

11 posted on 05/17/2024 1:13:32 PM PDT by deport
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To: ganeemead

Carbon dating is flawed theory. They have no known 308 million year old control carbon material to use.LOL! Also, there is zero proof that one species ever evolved onto another species. Atheists are befuddled when asked, “where did time and reality come from.” It blows their minds and they short circuit.

12 posted on 05/17/2024 1:36:07 PM PDT by doc maverick
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To: ganeemead

I tend to agree with you.

I used to be a believer in science. However the last several years science has proven to be nothing more than a scheme to make absolute lies proven facts. That “follow the science” BS of the covid era was the icing on the cake.

Anything with “science”, “study”, “fact checked” or “peer reviewed” is propaganda in my eyes.

Evolution cannot explain the complexity of the human being, in particular the brain. None of this just happened by accident or natural selection. It’s like saying a bunch of old Chevy and Ford parts in a junk yard just happened to reassemble themselves into a brand new Ferrari.

13 posted on 05/17/2024 3:47:14 PM PDT by redfreedom (Joseph Stalin: "It does not mater how anyone votes, how votes are counted is what matters.")
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To: redfreedom; doc maverick
One problem is that the people who tell us that our planet is 4B years old are the same people who tell us that dinosaurs died out 65M years ago as if the soft tissue being found in dinosaur remains since 06 were just someone's imagination...

Evolution: Categories of Disproof

A proof or disproof is a kind of a transaction. There is no such thing as absolutely proving or disproving something; there is only such a thing as proving or disproving something to SOMEBODY'S satisfaction. If the party of the second part is too thick or too ideologically committed to some other way of viewing reality, then the best proof in the world will fall flat and fail.

In the case of evolution, what you have is a theory which has been repeatedly and overwhelmingly disproved over a period of many decades now via a number of independent lines reasoning and yet the adherents go on with it as if nothing had happened and, in fact, demand that the doctrine be taught in public schools at public expense and that no other theory of origins even ever be mentioned in public schools, and attempt to enforce all of that via political power plays and lawsuits.

At that point, it is clear enough that no disproof or combination of disproofs would ever suffice, that the doctrine is in fact unfalsifiable and that Carl popper's criteria for a pseudoscience is in fact met.

The educated lay person is not aware of how overwhelmingly evolution has been debunked over the last century.

The following is a minimal list of entire categories of evidence disproving evolution:

Here's what I mean when I use the term "combinatoric considerations"...

The best illustration of how stupid evolutionism really is involves trying to become some totally new animal with new organs, a new basic plan for existence, and new requirements for integration between both old and new organs.

Take flying birds for example; suppose you aren't one, and you want to become one. You'll need a baker's dozen highly specialized systems, including wings, flight feathers, the specialized system which allows flight feathers to pivot so as to open on upstrokes and close to trap air on downstrokes (like a venetian blind), a specialized light bone structure, specialized flow-through design heart and lungs, specialized tail, specialized general balance parameters etc.

For starters, every one of these things would be antifunctional until the day on which the whole thing came together, so that the chances of evolving any of these things by any process resembling evolution (mutations plus selection) would amount to an infinitessimal, i.e. one divided by some gigantic number.

In probability theory, to compute the probability of two things happening at once, you multiply the probabilities together. That says that the likelihood of all these things ever happening, best case, is ten or twelve such infinitessimals multiplied together, i.e. a tenth or twelth-order infinitessimal. The whole history of the universe isn't long enough for that to happen once.

All of that was the best case. In real life, it's even worse than that. In real life, natural selection could not plausibly select for hoped-for functionality, which is what would be required in order to evolve flight feathers on something which could not fly apriori. In real life, all you'd ever get would some sort of a random walk around some starting point, rather than the unidircetional march towards a future requirement which evolution requires.

And the real killer, i.e. the thing which simply kills evolutionism dead, is the following consideration: In real life, assuming you were to somehow miraculously evolve the first feature you'd need to become a flying bird, then by the time another 10,000 generations rolled around and you evolved the second such reature, the first, having been disfunctional/antifunctional all the while, would have DE-EVOLVED and either disappeared altogether or become vestigial.

Now, it would be miraculous if, given all the above, some new kind of complex creature with new organs and a new basic plan for life had ever evolved ONCE.

Evolutionism, however (the Theory of Evolution) requires that this has happened countless billions of times, i.e. an essentially infinite number of absolutely zero probability events.

I ask you: What could be stupider than that?

Fruit flies breed new generations every few days. Running a continuous decades-long experiment on fruit flies will involve more generations of fruit flies than there have ever been of anything resembling humans on Earth. Evolution is supposed to be driven by random mutation and natural selection; they subjected those flies to everything in the world known to cause mutations and recombined the mutants every possible way, and all they ever got was fruit flies.

Richard Goldschmidt wrote the results of all of that up in 1940, noting that it was then obvious enough that no combination of mutation and selection could ever produce a new kind of animal.

There is no excuse for evolution to ever have been taught in schools after 1940.

14 posted on 05/17/2024 4:14:18 PM PDT by ganeemead (everything )
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To: Red Badger
"308-Million-Year-Old Fossil Arachnid ...."

15 posted on 05/17/2024 4:24:22 PM PDT by Bonemaker (invictus maneo)
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To: Bonemaker

Quick..... hook up a scan-tool and check the codes.

16 posted on 05/17/2024 8:00:36 PM PDT by LastDayz (A blunt and brazen Texan. I will not be assimilated.)
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To: Red Badger; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...
Thanks Red Badger.

17 posted on 05/18/2024 1:24:32 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Putin should skip ahead to where he kills himself in the bunker.)
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To: SunkenCiv

18 posted on 05/18/2024 1:44:01 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Putin should skip ahead to where he kills himself in the bunker.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Interesting ugly critter-looks like a spider to me-I do enjoy your posts very much. I’m going to ignore the young-earthers here-because the “scientists” who were responsible for the plandemic and calling gender dysphoria anything but the mental illness it is-among other stupid things-were/are not paleontologists and do not have the many years of sensible reality-based education required in that field. In other words, they are semi-scientists at best. They barely know basic biology-they are an insult to the word “scientist”.

I’m a believer in intelligent design-all is carefully thought out and created by God-the Supreme Being. Many real scientists who say the Earth is really, really as old as the fossils indicate believe that way too. “What is a day in the eyes of God?” He is not bound by the mortal limitations of time...

19 posted on 05/18/2024 1:48:51 PM PDT by Texan5 ("You've got to saddle up your boys, you've got to draw a hard line"...)
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To: Texan5

Very well put.

20 posted on 05/18/2024 7:07:51 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Putin should skip ahead to where he kills himself in the bunker.)
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