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November 5, 2001

Early Cambrian trilobite from Eastern Pennsylvania

A spectacular early Cambrian (515 million-year-old) trilobite Olenellus getzi from the Kinzers formation of eastern Pennsylvania. The creature lived during the Cambrian radiation, the time when animals first became abundant and started diversifying in the fossil record. One nice feature of this trilobite is that not only is the entire exoskeleton preserved, but there are also traces of the soft part appendages like the antennae. This is quite rare. This specimen is more than 15 centimeters long and is housed in the collections of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

This trilobite, along with many others, was considered in research funded by National Science Foundation grant EAR 01-06885. The research involved studying the evolutionary origins of the trilobites and considering the geological and climatic forces that may have led to the Cambrian radiation. (Date of Image: 2001)

Credit: Photo by Bruce S. Lieberman, University of Kansas

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