Four-Eyed Ancient Arachnids are Really Strange

A group of scientists have discovered ancient arachnids, harvestmen, that are weirder than they thought. The creatures, also known as daddy long legs, were found in Eastern France. The spiders that were found have two sets of eyes instead of just one. One set is at the center of the head, and the other set is separated (one on each side of the head).

Scientists used the 305-million-year-old harvestman fossil to determine that the arachnids had two sets of eyes. The scientists used a technique involving X-rays to draw their conclusion. However, the twist is that these Arachnids are not spiders.  Russell Garwood who happens to be the paleontologist at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom says, “Although they have eight legs, harvestmen are not spiders. They are more closely related to another arachnid, the scorpion.”

Two species that are also arachnids can have two sets of eyes are spiders and scorpions. When scientists studied the embryos of modern day arachnids, the genes for two sets of eyes exist in their DNA. This may suggest that these Arachnids were predecessors of the modern day ones that live on every continent except for Antarctica. The findings are huge, but there is still a lot of work to be figured out.

Arachnids are interesting creatures. It would be interesting to discover the arachnids that precede the ancient harvestmen. Maybe the arachnids would have multiple sets of eyes. There is still so much to know, and so much to investigate when it comes to evolution.


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