The trilobite, which became extinct millions of years ago, is commonly known as one of the first complex forms of life on earth. Their fossils can be found in many parts of the world and are often collected for their interesting shapes and varieties. (There’s even a vacuum cleaner designed after this creature…)
In fact there are actually 20,000 known varieties of this arthropod. They even ranged in sizes from ones that could fit inside your pocket to being as large as your sofa (!!!?!).
UC Riverside’s Dr. Nigel Hughes explains:
“They can have scoops or shovels, be fantastically spiny or beautifully streamlined and diverged to really explore their evolutionary space, but they still maintain that common body plan.”
Scientists study trilobite fossils to understand how today’s animals have evolved to the present. This can be everything from how mating habits developed to how a species can protect itself from predators.
Dr. Hughes not only studies the trilobite, but even sings about them.