Correction: This article previously reported that the Burgess Shale is located in Alberta. It’s located in Yoho National Park in British Columbia.
British Columbia’s famed Burgess Shale has yielded another ground-breaking fossil find — this time the oldest known ancestor of today’s spiders and scorpions.
Two scientists from the Royal Ontario Museum pried loose the well-preserved 500-million-year-old fossil from the area’s abundant deposits.
They describe the thumb-sized beastie as a fierce predator, equipped with tiny pincers in front of its mouth to grab, kill and eat its prey.
It’s those pincers that put it at the root of a family tree that now boasts more than 115,000 different species.
The preservation and detail in the fossil allowed the researchers to definitively link it to modern animals.
Paleontologist Jean-Bernard Caron says they found the specimen when the reflective minerals that replaced its eyes blinked at them from the rock.