A male daddy longlegs spider's amorous moment some 99 million years ago in modern-day Burma was captured forever in amber, according to a new study reported in National Geographic.
Researchers from the Berlin Museum for Natural History conducted the study and say the find is the first to show an erect penis frozen in amber.
The ancient spider specimen (Halitherses grimaldii) is a harvestman, which differs from other arachnids in that it has a penis. Fossils of its kind have been found dating back about 400 million years, and today there are more than 6,000 species of the creature.
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Researchers can never know exactly how the spider came to be stuck in resin on a tree in its state of excitement. And, missing is the object of the spider's affection. Perhaps the spider trapped in amber and its lady friend became separated, the female making it out alive, the researchers speculate.
Or, study lead Jason Dunlop told National Geographic: "It might be the case that the animal was struggling as it was trapped in the tree resin, and that this caused the blood pressure to shoot up and the penis to become squeezed out accidentally."
The study by Dunlop and his colleagues has been published in The Science of Nature.
via National Geographic