100-million-year-old spider fossil found
London: Scientists have discovered an ancient fossil of a spider attacking a wasp during the dinosaur age, estimated to be 100 million years old.
The preserved encounter occurred in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar in the Early Cretaceous period between 97-110 million years ago, when scientists suspect dinosaurs would have been roaming the area, the Daily Mail reported.
This marks the first fossil ever discovered of a spider attack.
Though the spider presumably had been waiting patiently for its prey, both the attacker and the unsuspecting wasp met their demise when they were showered in amber, a liquid preserver.
This juvenile spider was going to make a meal out of a tiny parasitic wasp, but never quite got to it," said George Poinar from the Oregon State University.
"This was a male wasp that suddenly found itself trapped in a spider web," he said.
"This was the wasp's worst nightmare, and it never ended. The wasp was watching the spider just as it was about to be attacked, when tree resin flowed over and captured both of them," he was quoted as saying by the paper.
Amber is a natural preservative that comes from the resin, a substance that oozes from trees. When it solidifies, it turns into a yellow orange crystal and the sticky substance preserves whatever gets caught.
The fossil has been described in the journal Historical Biology.