Skip to Content

Reviving a 50 Million Year Old Spider

High-resolution imaging reveals the inner organs of an ancient spider fossil.
October 31, 2007

Scientists at the University of Manchester, in the United Kingdom, digitally dissected a spider trapped in amber 50 million years ago in France using a technique called very high-resolution x-ray computed tomography. Based on the technology used in medical CAT scans, it can distinguish features about the width of a human hair. That minute level of detail allowed researchers to compare the creature’s internal organs with those of living spiders, and to classify the ancient arachnid as a unique species.

“This technique essentially generates full 3-D reconstructions of minute fossils and permits digital dissection of the specimen to reveal the preservation of internal organs,” said lead scientist David Penney in a press release from the university. “This is definitely the way forward for the study of amber fossils.”

The research was published in the current edition of the journal Zootaxa.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Conceptual illustration of a therapy session
Conceptual illustration of a therapy session

The therapists using AI to make therapy better

Researchers are learning more about how therapy works by examining the language therapists use with clients. It could lead to more people getting better, and staying better.

street in Kabul at night
street in Kabul at night

Can Afghanistan’s underground “sneakernet” survive the Taliban?

A once-thriving network of merchants selling digital content to people without internet connections is struggling under Taliban rule.

Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it
Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it

The US crackdown on Chinese economic espionage is a mess. We have the data to show it.

The US government’s China Initiative sought to protect national security. In the most comprehensive analysis of cases to date, MIT Technology Review reveals how far it has strayed from its goals.

IBM engineers at Ames Research Center
IBM engineers at Ames Research Center

Where computing might go next

The future of computing depends in part on how we reckon with its past.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.