Official: spiders are not afraid of conkers

LONDON, July 15th Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:46pm BST

Boys compete during the Vale of Belvoir annual conker championships in Long Clawson, central England October 21, 2007. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Boys compete during the Vale of Belvoir annual conker championships in Long Clawson, central England October 21, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

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LONDON, July 15th (Reuters) - For years, people have put conkers around their houses, believing their shininess or smell kept spiders away, but now a group of shoolchildren have proved the theory is false.

Year 5 and 6 pupils at Roselyon School, in Par, Cornwall won a nationwide challenge by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) -- and a 300 pound prize -- to discover the truth about spiders and conkers.

They put spiders in boxes with conkers and stones, and noted that most of them climbed over the conkers.

Spiders were also put in a water tank with a choice of escaping across a bridge made of wood or conkers, and most chose the conker route.

The results were videoed and presented to the Society.

"They should be proud of their fair mindedness, scientific rigour and logical thinking," said RSC spokesman Jon Edwards.

Andrew Ferguson, science teacher at the school, said: "Apart from being good fun, the project provided an invaluable learning experience.

"Many people are terrified of spiders, but one other thing our video also demonstrated is that Roselyon children are not among them."

(Reporting by Rianna Walcott; Editing by Steve Addison)

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