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On the Emsian (Lower Devonian) arthropods of the Rhenish Schiefergebirge: 1. Xenarachne, an enigmatic arachnid from Willwerath, Germany

Jason A. Dunlop & Markus Poschmann*
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
*Bussardweg 5, 56075, Koblenz, Germany

A new fossil arachnid,Xenarachne willwerathensis n. gen., n. sp. is described from the Lower Devonian (upper Lower Emsian) Klerf-beds of Willwerath, Germany. This intriguing fossil has a pedicel and a pygidium, indicating it belongs to the tetrapulmonate arachnids, but cattot be referred with confidence to any particular order. It is placed as Tetrapulmonata incertae sedis, though has similarities to whip spiders (Amblypygi) and spiders (Araneae). Xenarachne could even represent a very early spider, though the Devonian arachnid fauna could have included taxa which did not belong in any currently recognised order. Xenarachne may be an example of just such a fossil.

Paläontologische Zeitschrift, 71, 231-236 (1997)

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So far people were interested in what was almost the world's oldest spider