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Images: 4-Eyed Daddy Longlegs Helps Explain Arachnid Evolution

Ancient Harvestman

Image of harvestman

(Image credit: Paris NHM and Russell Garwood)

These are images made from X-rays of a newly-found harvestman fossil. Turns out the ancient ancestors of today's harvestmen had not just one, but two sets of eyes.

Daddy Longlegs

Image of harvestman

(Image credit: Paris NHM and Russell Garwood)

The recent discovery of the harvestman fossil in eastern France may shed light on the evolution of these arachnids.[Video: Ancient Spider-Like Arachnid Revealed In X-Rays]

Scorpion Relative

(Image credit: Paris NHM and Russell Garwood)

"Although they have eight legs, harvestmen are not spiders. They are more closely related to another arachnid, the scorpion," study author Russell Garwood, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, said in a statement.

Ancient Aranchid

(Image credit: Paris NHM and Russell Garwood)

Unlike their ancestors, modern harvestmen only have one set of eyes, located close to the center of the body.

'Lost' Set of Eyes

(Image credit: Paris NHM and Russell Garwood)

The researchers tracked the "lost" set of eyes, and they found that a remnant of the ancient, additional eye set indeed remains in the modern species' genes.