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Scientific name: Hollardops
Age: Devonian age, 380mya
Trilobites are animals that lived in the seas world-wide over 300 million years ago. They were a dominant, prolific marine creature during the Paleozoic era but were extinct by the end of the Permian period when a great extinction occurred that wiped out nearly 95% of all life on earth. Trilobites had hard shells that were divided into 3 different segments known as the cephalon (head), thorax (body) and pygidium (tail). Trilobites are in the group known as arthropods, meaning jointed foot and include insects, spiders and other sea-dwelling creatures such as crabs. They were diverse and ornate, developing into very elaborate species. They evolved very quickly and thus are very valuable as index fossils (see below). They lived in oceans all around the world. Trilobites shed their outer shell much like a crab does, with growth occurring mainly during the time that the new shell was still soft. There are lots of shed parts of trilobite shells found in the fossil record.
Trilobites are one of the most collected types fossils in the world. Do you live in an area where trilobites are found? Since much of our continents were covered at one time or another during the long life of our earth, perhaps you have sedimentary rock in your area that has fossils such as trilobites waiting to be discovered.