This is a small trilobite fossil from my own collection. I am a fossil nut, and simply fascinated with history (pretty much any time period).
Trilobites (pronounced traɪləˌbaɪt, meaning “three lobes”) are a well-known fossil group of extinct marine arthropods that form the class Trilobita. Trilobites first appear in the fossil record during the Early Cambrian period (540 million years ago) and flourished throughout the lower Paleozoic era before beginning a drawn-out decline to extinction when, during the Devonian, all trilobite orders, with the sole exception of Proetida, died out. Trilobites finally disappeared in the mass extinction at the end of the Permian about 250 million years ago.
When trilobites first appear in the fossil record they were already highly diverse and geographically dispersed. Because trilobites had wide diversity and an easily fossilized exoskeleton an extensive fossil record was left, with some 17,000 known species spanning Paleozoic time. Trilobites have provided important contributions to biostratigraphy, paleontology, evolutionary biology and plate tectonics. Trilobites are often placed within the arthropod subphylum Schizoramia within the superclass Arachnomorpha (equivalent to the Arachnata),2 although several alternative taxonomies are found in the literature.
Trilobites had many life styles; some moved over the sea-bed as predators, scavengers or filter feeders and some swam, feeding on plankton. Most life styles expected of modern marine arthropods are seen in trilobites, except for parasitism.3 Some trilobites (particularly the family Olenida) are even thought to have evolved a symbiotic relationship with sulfur-eating bacteria from which they derived food.(info by wikipedia)
Featured in Fishlike 2-19-10