Tue, Dec 23, 2008 - Page 13 News List

Scientist finds oldest spider web 科學家發現最古老蜘蛛網

Dew drops are seen condensed on a spider’s web on a cold morning in Bhubaneswar, India, on Dec. 11, 2008.


The tiny threads of the world’s oldest spider web have been found in a prehistoric piece of amber, a British scientist said last week.

Oxford University scientist Martin Brasier said the 140-million-year-old webbing proves that spiders have been catching their prey in webs since the dinosaur age. He also said the strands were linked to each other in the circular pattern familiar to gardeners the world over.

“You can match the details of the spider’s web with the spider’s web in my garden,” Brasier said.

The web was found in a small piece of amber picked up by an amateur fossil-hunter on England’s south coast about two years ago, Brasier said. A microscope showed tiny threads about 1mm long amid bits of burnt sap and fossilized vegetable matter.

Although it’s not a perfect web, it seems to confirm that spiders were building webs 145.5 to 65.5 million years ago when dinosaurs and small mammals shared the earth, said Simon Braddy, a University of Bristol scientist.

Spider experts believe that webs were developed even earlier, but the threads rarely leave any trace.










1. prey n.

獵物 (lie4 wu4)

例: The eagle swooped in and snatched its prey from the rock.


2. fossil n.

化石 (hua4 shi2)

例: Fossils are important to our understanding of dinosaurs.


3. microscope n.

顯微鏡 (xian3 wei2 jing4)

例: I examined the fungus under a microscope.


4. trace n.

遺跡 (yi2 ji1)

例: There was no trace of the house after the fire.


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