Miocene Spider Fossil from Nevada

Spider Fossil

Phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Chelicerata, Class Arachnida, Order Araneae

Geological Time: Miocene

Size: Spider fossil is 12 mm in length

Fossil Site: Central Nevada

Arachnid FossilDescription: Spider fossils are relatively rare in the fossil record since the chitinous exoskeleton poorly preserves. This one comes from central Nevada shales that offer some of the best-preserved insects and plants to be found anywhere in the world. This is a positive and negative specimen. The abdomen is faintly in preserved, though under close observation with a hand lens, or, microscope, much detail is present. All eight legs, feeding appendages and head are preserved. Nevada once had a much wetter and more temperate climate back in the Miocene. There were many more lakes in what is now the driest state in the USA. The Sierra uplift dramatically changed the climate and rainfall in the state.

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