What are Trilobites?

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What are Trilobites?

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Trilobites are extinct arthropods, one of the most famous fossil groups outside the dinosaurs. Trilobites appeared right at the dawn of the Cambrian era, 542 million years ago, and went extinct at the end-Permian extinction 250 million years ago, making trilobites iconic of Paleozoic fauna. Early genera include Fallotaspis, Profalloptaspis, and Eofallotaspis. Trilobite fossils are so common that you can buy one on eBay for $10 US Dollars or less. Numerous trilobite fossils have been found in Utah and Morocco, although collectors should be wary, as there is a serious counterfeiting problem with trilobite fossils. Trilobites were shield-shaped arthropods, especially interesting because they resemble no living arthropods. Trilobites are the only subphlyum of arthropods that went extinct. During the end-Devonian extinction, 364 million years ago, all trilobites except the order Proetida, represented by smaller trilobites, went extinct. Trilobites had trouble managing with the diversificati

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Trilobites are hard-shelled, segmented creatures that existed over 300 million years ago in the Earth’s ancient seas. They went extinct before dinosaurs even existed, and are one of the key signature creatures of the Paleozoic Era, the first era to exhibit a proliferation of the complex life-forms that established the foundation of life as it is today. Although dinosaurs are the most well-known fossil life forms, trilobites are also a favorite among those familiar with Paleontology (the study of the development of life on Earth). ANCIENT ARTHROPODS Trilobites were among the first of the arthropods, a phylum of hard-shelled creatures with multiple body segments and jointed legs (although the legs, antennae and other finer structures of trilobites only rarely are preserved). They constitute an extinct class of arthropods, the Trilobita, made up of nine* orders, over 150 families, about 5000 genera, and over 15,000 described species. New species of trilobites are unearthed and described e

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First, they are one of the the Earth’s most successful life forms. Trilobites arose during the Cambrian Period. The Cambrian Period existed from about 570 MYA to somewhere between 490 and 505 MYA. (MYA = million years ago, hence 505 MYA is 505,000,000. If you consider a year being 365 days, i.e. rotations of the Earth, this means the Earth has turned 183,820,000,000 times since the end of the Cambrian Period). Trilobites are believed to have evolved about 543 MYA, during the Lower Cambrian Period. The last Trilobites died out about 248 MYA in the upper Permian Period. Therefore Trilobites lived for a period of about 295,000,000 years on the Earth. Let’s compare that with the existence of human kind (not just modern humans, what are called Cro-Magnon). The period of time which some form of human kind has been on the Earth keeps getting pushed back but it is currently believed to be something like 4 to 6 million years. Modern humans have been around for a much shorter time, arguably betw

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Trilobites are remarkable, hard-shelled, segmented creatures that existed over 300 million years ago in the Earth’s ancient seas. They went extinct before dinosaurs even came into existence, and are one of the key signature creatures of the Paleozoic Era, the first era to exhibit a proliferation of the complex life-forms that established the foundation of life as it is today. Although dinosaurs are the most well-known fossil life forms, trilobites are also a favorite among those familiar with Paleontology (the study of the development of life on Earth), and are found in the rocks of all continents. ANCIENT ARTHROPODS Trilobites were among the early arthropods, a phylum of hard-shelled creatures with multiple body segments and jointed legs (although the legs, antennae and other finer structures of trilobites only rarely are preserved). They constitute an extinct class of arthropods, the Trilobita, made up of ten orders, over 150 families, about 5,000 genera, and over 20,000 described sp

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Trilobites are members of the phylum Arthropoda (jointed-foot animals). Arthropods have segmented bodies and appendages covered by an exoskeleton which provides support and protection for muscles and organs. Living Arthropods include insects, spiders, scorpions, ticks, crabs, lobsters, barnacles, and centipedes. Trilobites belong to an extinct class of marine organisms called Trilobita. This name refers to the three-part (tri-lobes) latitudinal and longitudinal shape of a trilobite’s exoskeleton. The latitudinal lobes consist of the cephalon (head), segmented thorax (body), and pygidium (tail); the longitudinal lobes consist of two lateral lobes (on each side of the body) and an axial lobe (central back area of the exoskeleton).

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