The study of fossil spider species

Erin E. SAUPE & Paul A. SELDEN

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 10 (2-3) - Pages 181-188

Published on 30 April 2011

This article is a part of the thematic issue The species concept in palaeontology: Ontogeny, variability, evolution

The definition of what constitutes a species has been an area of contention in biology since before the time of Darwin. Here, we discuss concepts of species in regards to the Araneae and particularly focus on diagnosing fossils. Spiders are primarily diagnosed by their copulatory organs, which may be difficult to observe in fossils due to a number of confounding factors, thus potentially hindering identification and systematic classification. However, despite potential difficulties, fossils should and must be studied alongside extant Araneae in order to garner a full understanding of the evolutionary history of this megadiverse group.


Araneae, Amber, Species concepts, SMRS, Ontology, Epistemology, Arachnology

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