Monday, April 23, 2018

About Spider Silk

Today in Ancient Arachnid Activities…

Photo credit: AMNH / David Grimaldi
Behold the prehistoric perfection of a 20 million-year-old spider exquisitely preserved in Dominican amber while in the act of unweaving their special spider silk.

Here’s some additional info about Dominican amber from a helpful Redditor:
“Dominican amber is amber from the Dominican Republic. This spider was caught in resin from the extinct tree Hymenaea protera, which is the source of Dominican amber and of most amber found in the tropics. Dominican amber is different from Baltic amber (Baltic region) by being nearly always transparent and having a higher number of fossil inclusions. This has facilitated the detailed reconstruction of the ecosystem of a long-vanished tropical forest.”

To learn more about what this ancient spooder was up to, watch this fascinating video of Dr. Cheryl Hayashi from the American Museum of Natural History talking about spiders and their amazing silks:

20 MILLION Year-Old Spider!! Unweaving Spider Silk 🕷

It's Okay To Be Smart  Published on Dec 12, 2017  7 min. 51 sec. 

Living things have engineered some pretty awesome materials, but I’m not sure anything measures up to spider silk. It’s as strong, as stretchy, and as resilient than even humans’ most advanced creations like Kevlar and steel. So how do these awesome arachnids weave such an incredible substance using nothing but their rear ends? And… what IS this stuff? I went to meet Dr. Cheryl Hayashi, one of the world’s experts in spider silk, to find out. Special thanks to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation:

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