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Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 7:52am
Spiders might exist that have crawled out of nightmares.

Thought I'd post this little beaut to get us all back dreaming again of the possibility of gigantism in known species. Highly unlikely, I know, but it doesn't do us any harm to let our imaginations run riot for a bit, now does it?
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Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 8:30am
Being Canadian with Irish roots the only thing I can say is "JESUS MURPHY! I hope not!"

And of course, being a geek I will say it's Aragog, Shelob, or even the Goddess Arachne from Dante's Inferno.
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 8:38am
Being a Tolkien fan, I'm bound to say 'Ungoliant'..... :-D
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 8:49am
Yeah the mom of Shelob and all giant spiders (How could I forget THAT!?)
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 8:53am
"Last child of Ungoliant to trouble the unhappy world."
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 10:20am
When trying to read the "Inferno" in an effort, long ago, to "get cultured" -- I think that I must (mercifully) have given up before getting to that bit.
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 10:47am
Would be cool, but Im not going looking for for it, I dont have a shoe that big.
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 11:21am
I would start a giant spider farm. The large strands of spider-silk would be worth more than gold.

Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 4:36pm
Don't let her eat that! It'll make her sick for years. Even exposure to it causes nausea.
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 11:29am
Pretty cool, but I'm pretty skeptical about it. Not much of a precedence for a spider or arachnid that big unless you want to count the giant scorpion and that lived in the sea almost 400 million years ago. Fossil spiders weren't any bigger than they are today.
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 12:00pm
My wife saw one in our living room. Somehow it managed to shrink itself to one inch when I got it.
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 2:51pm
There was one fossil spider that had a body the size of a man's head. Thats bigger than any I know of today.
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Fri, Jul 20 2012, 11:19am
Have a link for that?


Biggest Fossil Spider Found
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Fri, Jul 20 2012, 1:28pm
I saw it on one of the discovery channel shows walking with dinosaurs type thing.
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Fri, Jul 20 2012, 10:04pm
I believe what you are referring to Nolan is the BBC documentary Walking With Monsters where it depicts a Carboniferous period species of Mesothelae as being as large as a human head. Actually no spider that large has ever been found. At the time the series began production, the sea scorpion Megarachne had been mistakenly interpreted as a spider. The correct classification was not made until Walking With Monsters was well into production, and the giant spider was left in and called "Mesothelae" instead of Megarachne.

For the record I hold out no hope of discovering a giant spider as big as reported in the Congo or anywhere else for that matter. There are just too many physical obstacles for it to overcome to grow that large.

Giant Spider yesterday - eurypterid today
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Sat, Jul 21 2012, 4:00am
THAT'S IT!!!!!! The exact one, I didn't know it wasn't a spider now. It was when I saw it ;) Thanks for the superlative job of finding it based on my oh so sketchy description. :)
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Sat, Jul 21 2012, 8:15am
I actually thought the same thing. I thought that EVERYTHING was bigger back in the fossil record and I'm pretty sure I saw that show too, but when I saw this thread and looked it up, I was somewhat disappointed.
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Thu, Jul 19 2012, 5:08pm
Curious. How good do spiders fossilize?
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Fri, Jul 20 2012, 11:20am
That's a good point. Clearly not as well as critters with bones.
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Sat, Jul 21 2012, 12:13pm
There cleary are limits which the laws of physics impose on any animal's size, but history shows that whatever science says these limits are, Mother Nature has an uncanny habit of exceeding them.

I am thinking here of Meganeura, the extinct dragonfly with a wingspan of more than 2 feet (65 cm) - surely flying imposes more constraints than mere spider-life. And also, outside creepy crawly world, thinking of Quetzalcoatlus.
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Sun, Jul 22 2012, 2:58am
If the wing span of Meganeura was 2 feet, surely the body was quite a bit smaller,judging by the dragonflies of today. Perhaps the constraints on body size of this dragonfly still allowed for a large wingspan?
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
posted Sun, Jul 22 2012, 11:21am
Dunno - it's all speculative isn't it? I guess all I'm saying is we shouldn't rule out a spider 3 feet across on purely physical grounds if a flying insect can be 2 feet across. (There may well be other reasons to rule out said spider, such as a lack of any credible evidence for its existence!)

I generally hesistate to cite Wikipedia, but it does support my prior hunch here, when talking about Meganeura:

"Controversy has prevailed as to how insects of the Carboniferous period were able to grow so large. The way oxygen is diffused through the insect's body via its tracheal breathing system puts an upper limit on body size, which prehistoric insects seem to have well exceeded. "
Re: Possibility of the existence of the Congolese giant spider
P5b
posted Sun, Jul 22 2012, 11:33am
There's the problem of growth, a spider has to molt it's old skin off and wait till the new one hardens. There comes a size limit beyond which if it tried this it'd just collapse under it's own weight and I think asphyxiate.

Don't get me wrong though I'm not very well up on spiders, all I know is that they can sense fear.


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