20 MILLION Year-Old Spider and the Science of Spider Silk

20 MILLION Year-Old Spider and the Science of Spider Silk


[MUSIC] Think about this: Wherever you’re sitting
right now, chances are there’s a spider nearby. Which means there’s also a spider web. And you should be excited about that, because
spider silk is awesome. Spiders manufacture something stronger, stretchier,
or stickier than just about anything humans have engineered. A thread of spider silk is nearly invisible,
which is why you’ve probably walked through it with your face. Yet when it comes to strength, some spider
silk fibers rival steel and Kevlar. Imagine this: A silk cord about the diameter
of a garden hose could hold up a passenger jet. So how does such a tiny animal weave such
an amazing material using nothing but its rear end? I wanted to find out, so I went to the American
Museum of Natural History to meet Dr. Cheryl Hayashi, who’s maybe the world’s #1 expert
in the science of spider silk. Everybody knows that spiders make silk, but
I don’t think most people realize just how many kinds of silk spiders make. There’s over 46,000 described species of
spiders – and most spiders make four, five, six, seven, eight kinds of silk. So if you do the math, it’s huge! So this is Nephila clavipes, the golden orb-weaver,
and she can make seven different types of silk. Seven different kinds of spider silk? In that tiny little body? Yeah! Well, some people don’t think it’s a tiny
little body… It’s not the smallest spider I’ve ever seen! When you look at the golden orb weaver’s
trademark web, you’re actually looking at several different types of silk. There’s the dragline silk: The spider drags
it behind like a climber’s safety rope. It also makes up the web’s outer frame. There’s one silk to guide the web’s construction. The spiral that traps prey, is actually a
mix of two more silks: A stretchy silk covered in a sticky glue-like silk on top. There’s a cement-like silk to attach the
web to whatever it’s hanging on. There’s a silk for wrapping up prey. They even wrap their eggs in silk. Seven different silks, all made by one spider. So what exactly is this stuff? Spider silk is made of proteins, and the dominant
proteins inside a silk fiber are these specialized category of proteins called spidroins, which
stands for spider fibroins, that are unique to spiders. Inside the body, all of the silk glands have
liquid protein in them. So it’s liquid protein, and when I dissect
a spider and I take out a silk gland, and I break the gland open, it has the consistency
of honey! It’s a viscous, gooey substance that’s
in there. And it’s highly-concentrated silk protein. It kind of makes you wonder what an anatomically
correct Spider-Man would look like. The raw ingredients for every protein chain
are twenty amino acids, and the recipes for these chains are coded in genes. The order of amino acids in these chains determine
what a protein looks like, and what it will do. And spider silk proteins are built in a very
special way. Imagine a silk molecule like a long train,
made up of different boxcars. Inside each type of boxcar is a string of
amino acids. In any one type of silk, we see the same boxcars
over and over all the way along the train. This unique pattern is what makes each silk
so specialized. Spiders have cooked up some equally specialized
ways to use these silks. Like the trapdoor spider, which weaves a camouflaged
shelter from silk. The ogre spider, that it casts out a silk
net like a fisherman. Or the redback spider, who weaves a trap in
the form of sticky spring-loaded snares. Other spiders shoot venom-laced deadly silly
string silk. Small spiders can even ride the winds on silk
sails, a trick called “ballooning” that can carry them kilometers into the sky. To find the origins of spider silk, we have
to go a long way back. This is fossil amber, it’s from a Burmese
deposit, and there’s a spider in here, and this is 100 million years old. Do you want to touch a 100-million-year-old
spider? I need to be very careful. I’m holding a piece of the world from 100
million years ago, and there’s a spider in there that was already making silk like
spiders do today? Yes. 100 million years old! I can keep this, right? It’ll be our secret. Here’s another fossil spider, this one’s
not quite as old: only 20 million years old. Only 20-million-years-old? Practically yesterday! This one is just beautiful. I mean, you can see the spider inside. It’s posing like a spider! It knew that we would find it one day, and
it was like, “I’m gonna give them a really good pose. I’m going to do my best spidering.” Thank you, I really appreciate it! But Dr. Hayashi doesn’t just study how spiders
evolved and how they make silk. She also studies its mechanical properties. If you’re picturing her pulling on spider
silk with tiny tweezers, you’re not far off. This is one strand of dragline silk, that
what’s on this card. She unweaves these single silk strands by
hand, and mounts them into a special machine to test how much pulling it can take before
it breaks. And you can see there’s a fiber connecting
that. So the only thing connecting this part of
the machine: this clamp to this clamp, is the silk fiber. Can we pull on it? We can pull on it! We’re going to break this spider silk so
good. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC] Weight for weight, almost nothing we humans
have invented is as strong, as stretchy, or absorbs energy as well as some spider silks. So naturally, we’re trying to figure out
how to manufacture and weave this stuff for ourselves. The approach is you take the spider silk gene,
and you move that silk gene into another organism such as bacteria, a plant, a silk worm, or
even goats. Goats… like? Where is it coming out of the goats? So in the goat, it actually comes out, it’s
expressed in the mammary gland. So it comes out with the milk. What happens if you drink that milk? Do you get special powers? Um, I haven’t tried that myself. I’m going to market spider silk milk goat
cheese. You heard it first! Spider goat silk is still experimental, but
it shows us something really amazing about the power of evolution. With all our tools, and all of our knowledge
we haven’t invented a material as awesome as spider silk. We’re still no match for millions of years
worth of nature’s experiments. Well, I made a new friend. I made two new friends. [SPIDER NOISES] She’s like, waving to the camera. You know, that’s what they say about spiders,
you put a camera on them. I know! Hamming it up! Hamming it up. She’s saying “Hi Mom!”

100 Comments

  • It's Okay To Be Smart

    December 12, 2017

    When you think about it, spiders were communicating through the web long before we were 🤔 🕷 🕸

    I really enjoyed traveling to Dr. Hayashi's lab to feature some of her spider science. Should I do this kind of thing more? Leave a comment and let me know!

    Reply
  • Crazy Best Friend Forever

    September 23, 2019

    This whole video, I literally just covered the screen and listened to what they were talking about. I CANT STAND SPIDER OMG

    Reply
  • kING bOrU

    September 26, 2019

    When you love the science but dont watch a video on spider, just listen and read the comments…

    Reply
  • Jasper V

    September 27, 2019

    0:39 probably the tree brance will snap 😀

    Reply
  • RAWLA

    September 27, 2019

    Dominican Amber 🇩🇴🇩🇴🇩🇴🇩🇴🇩🇴

    Reply
  • Magma Fang

    September 27, 2019

    Spiders are still dodgy

    Reply
  • StevenIsHere!

    September 28, 2019

    That spider is gonna be the next spiderman.

    Reply
  • Bahhtleborn The Sheep

    September 30, 2019

    l e t s m i l k s p i d e r s

    Reply
  • Funny moments

    October 1, 2019

    I would smoke with that asian woman

    Reply
  • Gilgalad

    October 1, 2019

    I walked through a web when I was watching this!😂

    Reply
  • Teqe

    October 3, 2019

    Me: ah yes, spiders.
    Her: 1 million years ago
    Me: …

    Also me: du faq

    Reply
  • Ricardo Delacruz

    October 4, 2019

    Next spider man movie gone have butt spitting silk

    Reply
  • KittenPrime

    October 6, 2019

    Looks like a dragon ball

    Reply
  • JFS Marcelino

    October 6, 2019

    Silk silk silk silk silk silk siIk silk silk silk silk silk silk silk silk silk silk silk
    Find the wrong silk (probably impossible)

    Reply
  • ploxisthebest25 AJ

    October 7, 2019

    how will know that the spider is 20 million year old? is she alive in that year?

    Reply
  • bluestar musical

    October 7, 2019

    Joe:Spiders are awesome!
    Also joe: ima scared of spiders

    Reply
  • peakoak 19

    October 9, 2019

    Ok we all know that thats just an old amber and once revived it will become a real life arodactle

    Reply
  • Riflera Hunting

    October 9, 2019

    If it’s okay to be smart is okay to be dumb?

    Reply
  • Avon Master

    October 12, 2019

    It’s ok to be Paul blart

    Reply
  • Alexandra Dordzhieva

    October 12, 2019

    Easy,
    scare a spider until it poops out silk, and pull it out.

    Reply
  • Nick Beaudry

    October 13, 2019

    I live in CT and I always see baby spiders ballooning around almost everywhere all the time, especially in the summer.

    Reply
  • Spark z

    October 13, 2019

    I think we had that spider in my school, it look just like the same

    Reply
  • Thicky Nicky

    October 13, 2019

    ''i cAn kEeP tHis RighT'' stupid it ain't like she's gonna give you a 100 million years old spider

    Reply
  • Fast Crown

    October 14, 2019

    I’ve seen a golden orb weaver.. I thought it’s name was called banana spider

    Reply
  • Dracon

    October 14, 2019

    "think about this, wherever you're sitting there's a spider nearby" I'm takin a mondo Duke I don't want to think about spiders near me rn

    Reply
  • SOUNDS LIKE A YOU PROBLEM

    October 14, 2019

    when you have a spider egg full of thousands of baby spiders ^^^^

    Look at my name

    Reply
  • SOUNDS LIKE A YOU PROBLEM

    October 14, 2019

    spider has the ability to fly
    birds: ight imma head out

    Reply
  • Krxsty_. w0rld

    October 14, 2019

    clicks

    “There are spiders where u are”

    clicks another video

    Reply
  • Brodey B

    October 14, 2019

    I'm sure I don't wunt a spder web by me

    Reply
  • IgnacioAgramonte

    October 15, 2019

    PLANET EARTH IS ONLY 7 THOUSAND YEARS OLD…………………………

    Reply
  • Jackson Moore

    October 15, 2019

    holds 20 and 100 million year old spider and names the video 20 million year old spider

    Reply
  • Jennifer Romero

    October 15, 2019

    Video starts:where ever your sitting right now

    me:*sitting on the toilet*

    Video:Chances are there is a spider

    Me:*freaks out but continues to poop*

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019

    "chances are theres a spider nearby" thank you i know this and i hate it

    Reply
  • zangozeus

    October 16, 2019

    I thought the thumbnail was a dragon ball

    Reply
  • ItsDucko

    October 16, 2019

    I’m done with the video you made me disgusTed and scared

    Reply
  • Agarpets Art

    October 16, 2019

    🕸 UwU

    Reply
  • Ben Perez

    October 16, 2019

    S P I D E R G O A T

    Reply
  • a idiot's guide to something stupid

    October 16, 2019

    I love spiders ^-^
    My tarantulas aren't quite sure about humans though

    Reply
  • TheRandomNPC

    October 16, 2019

    Gen 8 fossil pokemon leaked

    Reply
  • SqiffyMarlin

    October 16, 2019

    I heard Australia is recruiting spiders to bullet proof their tanks

    Reply
  • fuba

    October 16, 2019

    Theodd1sout watchers:
    I've seen this one!

    HARMLESSLY IMMOBILIZING THE SPIDERS!

    Reply
  • No One

    October 16, 2019

    Someone take Ron to the hospital wing! Spiders can fly!

    Reply
  • ActuaIIyMad

    October 17, 2019

    So how many types of silk does Spiderman have?

    Reply
  • Jules Boden

    October 17, 2019

    why do u sound like jackfilms

    Reply
  • XxRed WolfxX

    October 18, 2019

    I feel like the scene where the nerd boy got bit by that spider and turned into spider man from the first movie took place in her laboratory, it looks familiar

    Reply
  • Cixal Vixin

    October 18, 2019

    I would blow up ever spider

    Reply
  • RainbowDiamonds

    October 18, 2019

    Was this supposed to make me like spiders? It didn't work. Sorry.

    Reply
  • Kai

    October 19, 2019

    no wonder why Spider-Man is able to carry heavy things with his spiderweb

    Reply
  • johnpaul ubando

    October 20, 2019

    hope you didnt get bitten by radio active spider

    Reply
  • Tyler Newman

    October 20, 2019

    /Spidergoat, Spider goat,/

    /Does whatever a Spidergoat does./

    Reply
  • [DF]Pivotkid80

    October 20, 2019

    is the spider scientist the one in spiderman??

    Reply
  • Cash0311

    October 21, 2019

    That sound effect scared me so bad.

    Reply
  • I Do Stuff

    October 21, 2019

    When u realise u have arachniphobia 😂😂

    Reply
  • cnnrmcllstrnovowels

    October 21, 2019

    6:50 very very true. Well said

    Reply
  • MATIC _KRALJ

    October 22, 2019

    Spider is my only friend

    Reply
  • ooo top

    October 23, 2019

    Anatomically correct spiderman😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

    Reply
  • Mitchred99 derp

    October 24, 2019

    THERES A SPIDER NEAR ME?! NOPE NOPE NOPE BOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  • My beautiful Face

    October 24, 2019

    Why does this guy remind me of MatPat?

    Reply
  • i420x Gaming

    October 24, 2019

    They dont use air to float there web is negatively charged attracting positive charges

    Reply
  • יהוה I Am יהוה

    October 24, 2019

    We are no match against God’s creative genius!

    Reply
  • A dog who likes to draw

    October 25, 2019

    Not a probably when you see a spider

    It’s a problem when it’s gone

    Reply
  • Sam oh

    October 27, 2019

    The production value here is so good, and so funny! 😂

    Reply
  • Raphael Collins

    October 27, 2019

    Use biotechnology to express this gene in humans.
    Woman silk milk ~
    Man milk silk ~

    Reply
  • Simon Cowell

    October 27, 2019

    Him:you should be excited that there’s a spider nearby
    Me:oh hell nah I’m going to Mars

    Reply
  • Eric Mason

    October 29, 2019

    Your lieing it could not hold up a passenger jet

    Reply
  • Anne Frank

    October 30, 2019

    If there's protein in silk may I eat it please

    Reply
  • Kediel Sanchez Mariano

    October 31, 2019

    Dominican amber.
    🇩🇴

    Reply
  • Dogman690

    November 1, 2019

    I mean it's literally nature doing something most would consider genetic engineering. On the DNA level the silk is a chain that forms a string. That's like…alien tech…wait…oh no.

    Reply
  • Dictator Shawn

    November 2, 2019

    I'd be the one guy who drops the 20 million year old slider in the Amber .

    Reply
  • RaginPlayer

    November 3, 2019

    If spider webs are made of protein is it possible for the silk to get cancer ?!

    Reply
  • St0rmxzy PLAYZ

    November 3, 2019

    Did this man call a spider a ANIMAL

    Reply
  • telldem1

    November 6, 2019

    2:46 Gay Spiderman

    Reply
  • Mr Mint

    November 8, 2019

    I have a spider bit on my n I p l L E when I was 8 and it’s STILL THERE

    Reply
  • Free Bird

    November 8, 2019

    too much drama

    Reply
  • Itz.Shakiragacha

    November 10, 2019

    I was immediately afraid to hold the video screen

    Reply
  • Hoho Hihi

    November 16, 2019

    And that’s how real life Jurassic park was born kids…

    Reply
  • Hyperopiate

    November 17, 2019

    So they're literally nature's cotton candy machine.

    Reply
  • chris

    November 18, 2019

    His social awkwardness is the best part

    Reply
  • Aemann Nueva

    November 19, 2019

    20M?

    Reply
  • Shugesh Super Saiyan

    November 20, 2019

    20 million years old spider my ass

    Reply
  • Zero Two

    November 21, 2019

    "How does spider learn how to make their House web"

    Reply
  • BIGCHUNEx

    November 22, 2019

    Who are the 1.7k who dont like this…? Like come on 🙄

    Reply
  • Will Gutierrez

    November 22, 2019

    I notice there’s spider silk in the wheel I’m going inside in now i got out

    Reply
  • Kaitlyn Fanita

    November 23, 2019

    Is no one going to mention how that spider noise thats made for the cartoon spider just hits the ears like nails on a chalkboard?

    Reply
  • Hey Stob It

    November 23, 2019

    Lol i read “spider silk” as “SPIDER MILK”

    Reply
  • RaphlTicket '

    November 23, 2019

    Thanks, now I'm extremely paranoid

    Reply
  • KiingDragon Ö

    November 26, 2019

    I don’t see how this video got any dislikes this is pure knowledge.

    Reply
  • NEFF

    November 27, 2019

    So this is how spider man's webs are so strong

    Reply
  • Greg G

    November 27, 2019

    Dr. Hayashi seems awesome

    Reply
  • Amar Shokher Vlogs

    November 27, 2019

    Isn’t that lady from the spider-man move?

    Reply
  • Canadian Wolf151

    November 29, 2019

    That spider is adorable

    Reply
  • Swakel Yeah

    November 30, 2019

    I imagine that if I eat that spider I’ll gain immense spider like abilities for 3 hours and then collapse immediately and foam from the mouth, only to realize it was all a fever dream and I’m actually in a paralyzed catatonic state

    Reply
  • Egero Aluste

    December 4, 2019

    0:07 thank you i will not get sleep today apparently

    Reply
  • ༺鿆Stick鿆༻ - Animations

    December 7, 2019

    Imagine recreating the jurrasic park movie except they are all gigantic spiders

    Reply
  • Teach D.Berainman

    December 8, 2019

    He said you should be happy to have spider web in your house l.
    – happy??? I swear to God if something crawl up my leg i'm burning the whole house down

    Reply
  • Agung Satria

    December 19, 2019

    i thought all ancient insect is gigantic , what is this micro spider

    Reply
  • Rayquaza Δ

    December 19, 2019

    Super strong silk

    Me: Breaks it with hand

    😮

    Reply
  • Wiz

    December 20, 2019

    where is the science of spider silk!….I don't really find it in the video?
    no numbers no experiments no properties of how strong and efficient the spider silk was given in the video… just some tantalizing facts!

    DISAPPOINTING 🙁

    Reply
  • Willow & Dominoes

    December 20, 2019

    What type of silk can Charlotte from Charlottes Web make?

    Reply
  • Gaming Panda official

    December 24, 2019

    Spider man is actually a webspinner

    Reply

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