A 410-million-year-old arachnid crawls back to life in this video made by scientists based on fossil remains from one of the first predators on land.The extinct trigonotarbid was a widespread, ancient relative of spiders. â€œWhen 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,â€ says Russell Garwood from the University of Manchester in a news release.
They lived about 300-400 million years ago, and the joints in their legs have been well-preserved in thin slivers of rock calledÂ Rhynie chert. These fossils are currently housed at the Natural History Museum in London.To recreate the creatureâ€™s gait, Garwood and colleagues looked to those thin slices of rock showing the animal’s cross-section, which allowed them to work out the range of motion in its limbs. They combined those details with comparisons to leg structure of living arachnids, and then used an open source computer graphics program called Blender to animate its crawl.
The work was published in a special issue of the Journal of Paleontology this week about 3D visualization and fossil analyses