410-million-year-old Arachnid Crawls Back into Virtual World

410-million-year-old Arachnid Crawls Back into Virtual World

An arachnid that lived 410 million years ago is back into virtual world and all the credit for the same goes to the research team at the University of Manchester, UK.

Researchers have used the fossils of one of the first predators on land to recreate the walking motion of the species. They also compared the species' movement with modern-day spiders.

"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", affirmed author Dr. Russell Garwood from the University of Manchester's School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences.

Known as trigonotarbid, the extinct arachnid seems to be more widespread than spiders. Researchers were of the view that the fossils were so well preserved that they were able to see all its leg joints. The clarity allowed them to recreate the species' gait using computer graphics.

With the help of open source computer graphic program called Blender, researchers were able to compare how the two species walked. Probable preys of the arachnid were early flightless insects and other invertebrates. Garwood said they have an idea how the species would have lived.

The species also had a special filtering plate in its mouth. It means that it vomited digestive enzymes on its prey and sucked the liquid food. The specimen was unearthed in Scotland, near the Aberdeenshire town of Rhynie.

One of the novel things noted about the specimen is that it was an alternating tetrapod, which means that at any one time, it had four feet on the ground.

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