The world’s oldest known spider web has been discovered on a beach in Sussex, England, trapped inside an ancient chunk of amber.
Scientists found the rare amber fossil in December, and have now confirmed that it contains remnants of spider silk spun roughly 140 million years ago by an ancestor of modern orb-weaving spiders. After slicing the amber into thin sections and examining each piece under a high-powered microscope, the researchers discovered that the ancient silk threads share several features common to modern spider webs, including droplets of sticky glue used to hold the web together and capture prey.
Spiders have been doing their web-spinning thing for at least 140 million years. That’s just amazing.
(More physics posts in the works, for those who are wondering what I’ve been up to.)