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20 MILLION Year-Old Spider!! Unweaving Spider Silk

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 Archeology / Paleontology   |   Biology   |   Science
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You’ll never look at spiders the same way again!
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Living things have engineered some pretty awesome materials, but I’m not sure anything measures up to spider silk. It’s as strong, as stretchy, and as resilient than even humans’ most advanced creations like Kevlar and steel. So how do these awesome arachnids weave such an incredible substance using nothing but their rear ends? And… what IS this stuff? I went to meet Dr. Cheryl Hayashi, one of the world’s experts in spider silk, to find out.

Special thanks to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation: https://www.macfound.org/

READ MORE:
Brunetta, Leslie, and Catherine L. Craig. Spider silk: evolution and 400 million years of spinning, waiting, snagging, and mating. Yale University Press, 2010.

Römer, Lin, and Thomas Scheibel. "The elaborate structure of spider silk." Prion (2008).

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It’s Okay To Be Smart is hosted by Joe Hanson, Ph.D.
Director: Joe Nicolosi
Writer: Sarah Keartes
Producer/editor/animator: David Schulte
Producer: Stephanie Noone and Amanda Fox

Produced by PBS Digital Studios
Music via APM
Stock images from Shutterstock http://www.shutterstock.com

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