Oldest orb weaver found, according to reports in BBC News 14 June 2006 and Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0506. David Penney of the Unviersity of Manchester, UK and Vincente Ortuno of the University of Alcala, Spain have found two specimens of a spider from the family Araneidae, the orb weaving spiders, preserved in amber from Alva in northern Spain. The amber is dated as Lower Cretaceous – between 115 to 120 million years old. This makes them the oldest orb weaving spiders found. Today there are over 2,000 species of orb weaving spiders in three families. Penny and Ortuno write: “Given the complex and stereotyped movements that all orb weavers use to construct their webs, there is little question regarding their common origin, which must have occurred in the Jurassic or earlier.” They then suggest that orb weavers diversified during the Cretaceous period when flowering plants and insect pollinators evolved.
Editorial Comment: These are evidence that orb weaving spiders have always been orb weaving spiders, which is exactly what you would expect if living creatures were separately created to reproduce after their kinds. The claims that orb weavers evolved unseen in the millions of years before these specimens were preserved in amber, and they then gave rise to 2,000 other species is a blind belief – not an observed fact. The reason for the comments about flowering plants and insect pollinators is the common evolutionary idea that if a type of food becomes available, flying insects or animals will evolve to eat it, e.g. spiders. This is also blind faith. The fact that a spider eat insects no more explains how spiders came into existence, than eating a Big Mac proves where man come from. (Ref. arachnids, amber, webs)
Evidence News 9 August 2006