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This 100-million-year-old fossil isn't a spider or a scorpion

This bizarre creature, found preserved in amber, has the head, abdomen, and 8 legs of a spider. The rest, including a whip-like tail, is something out of your worst dreams.
This proto-spider was found preserved in amber. Photo: Bo Wang

Four specimens of a 100-million-year old spider-like arachnid were found preserved in amber, according to research published Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Why it matters: "It throws up a combination of characters that initially seems alien to an arachnologist," paleobiologist Greg Edgecombe told the New York Times' Nicholas St. Fleur. It shows how diverse arachnids once were, and "presents some intriguing hints at how they evolved," writes Sarah Kaplan for The Washington Post.