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Creature riding the debris of the supercontinent, scattered across the Earth

Tarantula spiders attach themselves to fragments of the supercontinent Gondwana and then disperse to many regions of the Earth. Tarantula spiders inhabit all continents except Antarctica.

Female tarantulas rarely leave their burrows while baby spiders hang out near where they hatch. Adult males only move when they are looking for a mate.

So why is the tarantula spider so ubiquitous on Earth?

To answer this question, the researchers looked at the origin of the tarantula spiders that lived over 100 million years ago. They built the spider’s family tree based on clues from an existing database.

Scientists then mapped the chronology of spider fossils to estimate when and where the spiders appeared and dispersed.

Scientists have discovered that the tarantula first appeared in the Cretaceous Period in what is now the Americas. But at the time, the Americas were part of the huge supercontinent Gondwana.

The parents of the ancient tarantula spider may have spread over land, dispersing from the Americas to Africa, Australia and India.

After the disintegration of Gondwana, India separated from Madagascar and collided with Asia, bringing with it hordes of tarantulas.

So far, only two tarantula fossils have been found. Both are preserved in amber.

A Mexican word dating back 16 million years. One from Myanmar about 100 million years old.

Because tarantula fossils are so rare, researchers are collecting more data on mygalomorphs, a group of spiders that includes tarantulas and other large terrestrial arachnids.

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