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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.

The arachnid has the head of a spider, but the back-end looks like a scorpion's with legs. Like a scorpion, it has a long, whip-like tail. But the researchers think the tail didn't sting — it was probably more like an antenna. The not-spider also has spinerettes, similar to those modern spiders use to make silk.

Sound smart: The spiders' scientific name is Chimerarachne yingi. The chimera is a mythological monster with a lion's head, goat's body, and snake's tail. Arachne is the greek root for the word 'spider.' It's a fitting name for an animal that looks like a spiders' head with something else attached to the back.

Go deeper

Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines.

Why it matters: Giuliani led former President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election and spread the baseless conspiracy theory that Dominion's voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden.

Mike Lindell moves the goalposts on a run for Minnesota governor

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell waits outside the West Wing of the White House before entering on Jan. 15. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The will-he-or-won't-he speculation surrounding a possible gubernatorial run by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is destined to continue at least a bit longer.

What he's saying: Lindell told Axios that his focus is currently on proving his (baseless) claims of election fraud. He won't make a decision until that fight is resolved.

Wall Street pencils in virus variants as latest economic risk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wall Street is pinning its bets of an economic rebound this year on mass vaccinations and a virus brought under control, but new coronavirus strains threaten that sunny outlook, a number of firms are warning.

Why it matters: None downgraded growth forecasts because of the variants, but they’re acknowledging there’s a new asterisk to the anticipated economic recovery.