University of California Berkeley researchers have found spiders in Panama and Peru that can steer themselves in a free fall to land where they'd like.
Probably on your face. Not really.
These tree-dwelling species are giving those researchers some insight into the actual evolution of flying insects, which is super neat even though it ignites the nightmares in your sleep.
Look into its face.
io9 discusses these spider powers discovered by the researchers.
To test their abilities, the researchers dropped 59 Selenops spiders from either canopy platforms of tree crowns in Panama and Peru. The vast majority (93%) directed their aerial trajectories towards nearby trunks. After landing, they re-oriented themselves and walked head-first towards specific targets.
The scientists say that this type of behavior may have preceded the origin of wings. The spiders are exceptionally thin, and they exploit the powers of lift and drag by spreading their legs wide open. They're even able to right themselves in midair when they turn upside-down. The biologists also witnessed spiders who bounced off a tree trunk, only to recover and resume the glide back down to the surface.
They put together this
nifty panic-attack-inducing video to show off the spider's skills.
You can read the whole scientific study here.