Trilobites-Paleozoic Arthropods

The Trilobite was an early arthropod. It came into existence approximately 450 million years ago at the beginning of the Paleozoic Era in the Cambrian Period. It flourished in the ancient seas for close to 300 million years.


The trilobite’s hard exoskeleton, segmented body and jointed legs are the characteristics that place it in the Phylum Arthropoda. It sets itself apart as a class from the other arthropods by the three lobes that run the length of the animal’s body.

Trilobites were among those animals that seemed to burst on the scene at the beginning of the Cambrian Period. The number of species increased rapidly through out the Cambrian and into the Ordovician period, but suffered a steep decline at the end of that period. By the beginning of the Silurian Period, the trilobite was extinct.

Trilobites lived in a wide range of climates, from warm shallow seas to deep icy ocean shelves. The wide variation of more than 15,000 species is often characterized by different body structures and eating habits, including predatory, filtering, and scavenging.

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