This suggests that baby spiderlings probably stuck close to their mother for a while after birth.
The researchers were pleasantly surprised by “just how everything fitted beautifully into place. We had three or so specimens which all corroborated each other in the story,” Selden said.
The researchers used CT-scanning to spot tiny eyes and other features that revealed the identity of the spider as well as the tiny spiderlings in 3D detail.
Lagonomegopidae spiders can be distinguished because they had a large pair of eyes situated at the front corners of the head. Other known fossils of these spiders has revealed that they had reflective tapetum in their eyes, similar to other nocturnal creatures — think about the way a cat’s eyes flash in the dark.
These now-extinct spiders look similar to modern jumping spiders, but they aren’t related at all.
Spiders are known for exhibiting maternal care, but fossilized examples of this are exceedingly rare.
“Whereas we expected that spiders had maternal instincts from their very beginning, 그것은, nevertheless, very nice to have actual physical evidence from the fossil record about 100 백만년 전,” Selden said.
But what does maternal care, observable in many living spider species today, really mean?
“Parental care refers to any investment by the parent that enhances the fitness of their offspring, and often at a cost to the survival and future reproduction of the parent,” the researchers wrote in the study. “Its evolution represents a breakthrough in the adaptation of animals to their environment and has significant implications for the evolution of sociality.”
Other arthropods that exhibit this kind of care include insects and crustaceans.
Selden and his colleagues will continue to search “for other instances of behavior frozen in time.”