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Presenting the Closest Relative to Modern Spiders Ever Found

The fossil is 305 million years old.

Like all living things, that spider you found in your bathtub last night has an untold number of ancestors. Many of those date back millions of years, from a time well before humans, and even before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. 

Spiders’ latest ancestor was unveiled Wednesday, a 305 million-year-old fossil that contains evidence of something like a spider, if not one exactly. 

Idmonarachne brasieri is a heretofore unknown species, which scientists said helped them understood how arachnids evolved. The new fossil, for one thing, didn’t have the tools for spinning webs.

“Although distinctly spider-like in habitus,” scientists wrote in a study, “this remarkable fossil lacks a key diagnostic character of Araneae: spinnerets on the underside.”

The fossil of the spider-like creature was originally excavated near Montceau les-Mines, France, in the 1980s, but only recently analyzed with computer scanners, according to the BBC

“This fossil is the most closely related thing we have to a spider that isn’t a spider,” a study co-author, Russell Garwood, tells the BBC