"RISING" CHEIRURUS CROTALOCEPHALUS
TRILOBITE WITH EXPOSED MOUTH PARTS AND FREE-STANDING TAIL SPINES
Atlas Mountain Range
(Northern Sahara Desert), South Morocco
PERIOD: 395 - 345 million years ago
This large and well-preserved Cheirurus (Crotalocephalus) gibbus
species is a superb example and features one of the most dramatic
preparations we have ever offered in this species.
This trilobite underwent a great deal of extra preparation such that it
was freed of its original matrix in a position that appears to make it "rising"
over the rock, supported by a base of its original limestone and raised
up as if still alive and swimming over the prehistoric ocean floor.
The entire edge of the trilobite is suspended over the rock with the pygidial spines all protruding from the matrix
and an exposed hypostoma (mouth part)! The original matrix is a
light cream which contrasts well with the beautiful dark olive green and
gold carapace of the trilobite. The color is entirely
natural. The trilobite is
fully inflated and shows great articulation, adding a sense of action to the specimen.
In natural form and without the typical market fabrication.
entire trilobite and the surrounding rock surfaces have been carefully
lab-prepped with high-tech micro-abrasive equipment to fully expose every bit of tiny detail.
The end result was worth the extra expense and labor and has produced
this wonderful fossil that exceeds those usually
found in the marketplace of this species.
and fascinating species of the Cheiruridae order of trilobites, the
Cheirurus (aka Crotalocephalus (Crotalocephalina) trilobite is an ugly
duckling yet, desirable addition to any collector's
cabinet. With it's fat, bulbous snout, tiny eyes and strange
raised surfaces down its lobes, the CHEIRURUS trilobite is one of our personal favorites.
are hard-shelled, segmented creatures
that lived hundreds of millions of years ago in the Earth's ancient seas.
They are considered to be one of our planet's earliest complex
life-forms and are one of the key
signature creatures of the Paleozoic Era. Trilobites went extinct before dinosaurs even
to dinosaur fossils, trilobites command a dedicated and passionate
following amongst both scientists and fossil collectors, alike. In
a relatively short time-frame (scientifically speaking, of course), we
have the emergence and subsequent extinction of these fascinating
creatures. Still most baffling is the incredible diversity of
sizes and features that made up the trilobite group. Many bizarre
species co-existed with highly specialized body parts that defy the
theories of evolution in their "sudden" emergence and
diversity during the Early Cambrian Period in what is known as the
were among the world's first 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 very rarely
are preserved). They constitute an extinct class of arthropods,
Trilobita, that is comprised of over 15,000 known species.
It has been
reported that every year, four to five new species are discovered in the
Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountain regions in Morocco, alone! This
desolate northern fringe of the Sahara Desert was once covered by a
prehistoric ocean and its fossil deposits can be considered the world's
richest and most diverse source of these ancient sea creatures.
Trilobites are the single most diverse
group of extinct organisms that ever existed, period! The
smallest known trilobite is just three millimeters long, while
the largest type grew to a length of 70 centimeters (over two feet
long!). The most
common fossil of trilobites is the mineralized dorsal exoskeleton of the
creature. This is found in partial form from molting (shedding the
shell as it grows) or in complete form when the animal was buried and
died intact. The soft parts of the underside are rarely
preserved. The name 'TRILOBITE' means 'three lobed" and is
derived from the fact these animals had bodies featuring three longitudinal
lobes, not lateral (head, body, tail) as is often thought. The
lateral division of three parts is shared by many arthropods, not just
study has been done on trilobites as a whole organism. Even more
fascinating though, is the research done on a microscopic level with
regards to trilobite morphology. Radiographs have
captured incredible detail of complete and fully articulated antennae
and underparts like legs and gills, preserved in the host rock of some
fossilized specimens. Perhaps the most impressive and classic
feature of trilobites that comes to mind is the eyes. Microscopic
studies of trilobite eye structures have also revealed marvelous
adaptation and very high degrees of specialization in
that the more we learn about trilobites, the unfolding of their mystery
is stranger than fiction. Certainly we gain a greater appreciation
with each new discovery of these strange and highly advanced but now
extinct 'butterflies of the ancient seas'.
FREE-STANDING PREPARATION OF A BEAUTIFUL AND LARGER
THAN TYPICAL CHEIRURUS TRILOBITE!
2.5" x 2.4"
overall with original matrix, trilobite large at 3.25" in length
Item - One Only