According to a recent study published in the International Journal of The Science of Nature that was also reported by National Geographic, the team of Berlin Museum for Natural History led by Jason Dunlop, has discovered an unusual 99 million year old extinct species of a harvestman spider along with an extended penis.
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The erectile penis makes the discovery unique as the penis is a male organ that is usually hidden inside the body unlike that of this particular amber preserved creature discovered in Burma. Fossils of this species have been dated back to 400 million years back. At present there are more than 6000 species of the harvestman spiders.
The harvestman specie is scientifically named as Halitherses grimaldii and differs from arachnids due to the presence of a penis which shows that the male harvestman spiders, like animals in the present day, use a penis to transfer sperms in to the bodies of the females.
This discovery has unveiled the fact that Cretaceous harvestman mated in the same manner as the modern day harvestman. However, no harvestman from the present has a penis shaped like that of the discovered fossil.
The Burmese amber preserved harvestman spider was first discovered in the year 2005 but scientist had a hard time classifying it in the harvestman family tree due to its varied characteristics such as its large eyes and spatula shaped penis tip. The large eyes were later identified as a primitive characteristic of the specie.
Another significant fact about this discovery is that the fine structure of the genital organ, the penis, is immensely important for classification of species.
With the help of this discovery, scientists were able to distinguish this particular harvestman specie from the others of its kind and were able to classify the specie by the name Opiliones.
The story behind the trapping of the harvestman with a penis that is erect still remains a mystery. However, there are a few explanations that the scientists have come up with like the theory where it is suggested that the erectile penis was a result of the rise in the creature's blood pressure due the urgent attempts that it must have made in order to escape.
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Another theory suggests that the female that had lead to the arousal may have been successful in making an escape while the male spider got caught up.