Austin, TX – Summer is just around the corner, which means spiders are going to start showing up in our homes again. The eight-legged creatures have been on this planet for over 380 million years and have been scaring humans since day one. When asked what someone fears most, the response is usually: spiders. Is it the eight legs? The hair? The way they move? Up to 40% of phobias in the United States are related to bugs, including spiders.
For as long as people have been afraid of arachnids, their parents have always told them, they are more afraid of us than we are of them. Well, that is no longer the case.
Dwight Newton, a scientist at the Eight Legged Lab in Austin, has been studying arachnids since as long as he can remember. “I used to be afraid of them,” the Alabama native told us. “I was told to study them and, that way, I would develop more of an interest for them than a fear,” the Arachnology professor told us. “I was the weird kid in school, but I became a hero once people needed to have a spider removed from a school. I was a pacifist about it, though.”
Newton recently received funding for a project he has dreamt over for years now. “When my mother first told me that spiders were more afraid of us, I wanted to see if things would change if they ever learned of this.” Newton taught Henry, the Piddipus audax, sign language over the last six years and recently told him that humans are actually the ones who are more afraid. No word yet on if Henry plans to tell his eight-legged friends.