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Trilobite Fossils

Trilobites are an ancient variety of arthropods and were one of the first animals to have eyes. Some are nearly 550 million years old! They're also one of the most popular invertebrate fossils with thousands of species to collect. You can choose small flat specimens or rolled into a tight protective ball and occasionally you'll even find one in a half-curled position as if it were crawling over a rock. You'll find a variety of trilobite fossils for sale from around the world including Morocco and the well known Wheeler Shale Formation. 

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trilobite drawing The first trilobites show up in the fossil record early in the Cambrian Period about 550 million years ago. They were on the vanguard of the "Cambrian Explosion", a time when many animals had hard body parts that could fossilize. They get their name from the 3 lobes of their bodies from side to side.

There were also 3 sections to their bodies from front to back, the hear or cephalon, the body or thorax, and the tail called the pygidium. The thorax was very flexible. Trilobites could curl up into a ball to protect their bellies like a sow bug.

They rapidly diversified through the Ordovician Period and were abundant. However something happened during the Ordovician Period that was not good for the trilobites. It may have been a change in the earth's climate like an ice age. Whatever it was many species of trilobites became extinct later in the Ordovician. Their numbers continued to decline during the Paleozoic Era. They finally went extinct during the Great Dying of the Permian Extinction.

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INTERESTED IN MORE INFORMATION? IF SO, YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK OUT OUR OTHER SITES: - An educational site about fossils and geologic time - An educational site about rocks, minerals, and geology.

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