Spiderweb fossils?

This XKCD comic got me thinking – As I understand it, many fossils are not actual ossified bone matter, but rather a leaf or creature or whatever’s impression in mud that has been preserved in some similar way. So, assuming a spider died in its web (I’m not even sure how common that is – it seems to me that when I see a defunct web, there usually isn’t a spider in it) anyway, say a spider died in its web quickly, like from Pompeii-type volcanic gasses or something. Is it at all possible that, under perfect circumstances, the web could be somehow preserved for the fossil record; or vanished but visible by virtue of having been there and changed the minerals around it? In other words, if we didn’t know about spider webs in the far future, would there be a way to infer them from fossil evidence? Are there spider webs preserved in amber?

Fossil spider webs have been found inside amber. But I think many of the processes that result in stone fossils or imprints are probably not suited to preservation of spider webs.

I am unaware of any hard-rock fossils of your classic orb-weaver type of web, but we do have fossils of other spiderwebs, 16 million yo sheet webs from Namibia. Wouldn’t surprise me if there are other fossils of e.g. funnel webs, trapdoor burrows or egg sacs.

I just cannot believe that the OP linked to a Photobucket* copy of the original.:smack:

Here’s the original, from XKCD directly.

Photobucket: Where you put your photos to minimize the number of people who can view them.

There are lots of spiders from long ago caught in amber. This one is in a web with prey:

“Researchers have found what they say is the only fossil ever discovered of a spider attack on prey caught in its web – a 100 million-year-old snapshot of an engagement frozen in time.”

(Picture at the side). Incredible critters - and an interesting discussion topic!

I’m not sure I understand the comic.
: (

http://explainxkcd.com/1747/

Ah, ok. Well it is what I thought. Thanks for the link.

ftg: I linked to a permanent copy of the comic because I wasn’t sure if simply linking to XKCD would produce a link that changes with the comic or not. Also I wasn’t aware that people have problems seeing photobucket pages?

lynne-42: That is a hella cool picture attached to that article. Imagine the timing! Thank you.

[quote=“brujaja, post:9, topic:769103”]

ftg: I linked to a permanent copy of the comic because I wasn’t sure if simply linking to XKCD would produce a link that changes with the comic or not. Also I wasn’t aware that people have problems seeing photobucket pages?
??? This makes no sense. Look at the comic. See that thing just below it giving both a permanent URL and a direct link to the image of the comic?

Amazingly simple.

My work filters out just about any image hosting site at all. I assume they do this because they could contain porn.
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