Back in July, the following tweet showed up in my Twitter time-line.

It’s a beautiful trilobite fossil and it reminded me of my fondness for trilobites.

What are trilobites?

Trilobites are an extinct class of marine arthropods. They first appear in the fossil record some 540(!) million years ago and enjoyed enormous evolutionary success. Because they had a hard exoskeleton covering them, they have left many beautifully preserved fossils for us to enjoy. They went extinct during the Permian extinction, before the first dinosaurs walked the Earth but we don’t know exactly why they did. They ranged in size from less than a millimetre up to 70 centimetres.

I first remember seeing them in books about extinct creatures, which I used to borrow from the library when I was a child. I was fascinated by them from the beginning because they’re so easy to recognize and there were so many varieties of them. There are no animals like them any more, so they’re a little like aliens but right here from Earth.

Here’s a collection of pretty trilobite fossils for you to enjoy.

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