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A Fossil Spider Discovery Just Turned Out to Be a Crayfish With Some Legs Painted On
When scientists at the Dalian Natural History Museum in China copped a load of a fossil unearthed in the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation, they couldn't believe their eyes. The eight-legged beastie looked like nothing anyone had seen before. Exceptionally preserved.
They described it as a new spider, publishing their analysis in the journal Acta Geologica Sinica, and named the species Mongolarachne chaoyangensis. There was just one problem: the fossil was a big old fake.
The cunning ruse was discovered by invertebrate paleontologist Paul Selden of the University of Kansas, whose spidey senses started tingling when he got his hands on the paper.