Scientists Recreate Walk of the Trigonotarbid Using Computer Software

Posted on July 10, 2014

Scientists recreate trigonotarbid walk

Scientists have recreated the walk of the trigonotarbid using computer software. Trigonotarbid is an extinct arachnid group that lived 410 million years ago. Unlike spiders, trigonotarbids did not have spinnerets. The largest trigonotarbids were about 5 centimeters (2 inches) long. Researchers from The University of Manchester and the Museum fur Naturkunde, Berlin used fossils and an open-source computer graphics program called Blender to recreate the walk of the extinct arachnids.

University of Manchester paleontologist Dr. Russell Garwood says in a statement, "When it comes to early life on land, long before our ancestors came out of the sea, these early arachnids were top dog of the food chain. They are now extinct, but from about 300 to 400 million years ago, seem to have been more widespread than spiders. Now we can use the tools of computer graphics to better understand and recreate how they might have moved - all from thin slivers of rock, showing the joints in their legs."

The video created with Blender first shows how the ancient creature would have flexed and moved its legs. It then shows the creature moving spider-like across a checkered landscape. Take a look:

A research paper on the trigonotarbid's movement was published here in the journal, Journal of Paleontology.

Image: Garwood/Dunlop

More from Science Space & Robots