High-fidelity X-ray micro-tomography reconstruction of siderite-hosted Carboniferous arachnids

Russell Garwood, Jason A. Dunlop, Mark D. Sutton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A new approach to maximize data recovery from siderite-hosted fossils is presented. Late Carboniferous trigonotarbids (Arachnida: Trigonotarbida) from Coseley, UK, were chosen to assess the potential of high-resolution X-ray micro-tomography (XMT). Three-dimensional computer reconstruction visualizes the animals at 20 μm or better resolution, resolving subtle and previously unseen details. Novel data recovered includes (possibly plesiomorphic) retention of endites on leg coxae of Cryptomartus hindi (Anthracomartidae) and highlights further similarities between this family and the Devonian Palaeocharinidae. Also revealed is a flattened body with robust anterior limbs, implying a hunting stance similar to modern crab spiders (Thomisidae). Eophrynus prestvicii (Eophrynidae) had more gracile limbs but a heavily ornamented body, with newly identified upward-pointing marginal spines on the opisthosoma. Its habitus is comparable with certain modern laniatorid harvestmen (Opiliones). These findings demonstrate the potential of XMT to revolutionize the study of siderite-hosted Coal Measures fossils. © 2009 The Royal Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)841-844
    Number of pages3
    JournalBiology letters
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2009


    • Coal measures
    • Computed tomography
    • Siderite
    • Trigonotarbida
    • X-ray micro-tomography


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