Spiders and crocodiles: older than thought

June 14, 2006

British scientists have reportedly found a fossilized spider preserved in amber that suggests spiders have existed much longer than thought.

The journal Biology Letters says a Manchester University research team that studied the preserved spider found in Spain now believes orb-weaving spiders arrived during the Jurassic period, not the Cretaceous period, making them about 100 million years older than has been believed, the Times of London reported Wednesday.

And scientists say crocodiles are about 20 million years older than previously thought. The Times says that finding stems from the discovery of a fossilized crocodile that lived up to 98 million years ago in Australia.

The Proceedings of the Royal Society says the 3-foot-long creature probably resembled the last common ancestor of modern crocodiles.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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