You dont have to be rare to be valuable!

Hi my name is Hetti and I am a volunteer here at Manchester Museum helping David with the Earth Sciences collection. We were recently looking through the collection to find objects for display in the new Nature’s Library gallery and came across a wide variety of very well preserved trilobites and so I thought that they would make a great subject for my next blog post. Here’s some from the collection.

The classic view of a trilobite

The earliest known trilobites date from the Early Cambrian (521 million years ago) and over time they evolved to live in a range of marine environments and with a wide variety of lifestyles, from moving along the sea bed hunting for food to swimming through deep water and feeding on plankton. Trilobites began to decline during the Devonian and they eventually died out at the end of the Permian (approx 250 million years ago).

Some trilobites evolved to have spines probably for defence

The fact that trilobites evolved to be so diverse and geographically diverse means that they are very useful for identifying the habitats of any fossil plant or animals found with them. All trilobites had a hard exoskeleton which is much more likely to be preserved than soft tissue and therefore they have been well preserved within the fossil record.  As a result of this they have been used to greatly improve our understanding of paleontology, plate tectonics, biostratigraphy and evolution.

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