Trilobita

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The '''trilobites''' are an extinct class of marine arthropods. By the time true trilobites appear in the fossil record, during the Cambrian, they are already highly diverse and possess two characteristics that likely served them well to survive in the Paleozoic seas, a well- mineralized exoskeleton, and a highly advanced visual system. They particularly flourished during the Cambrian when the peak number of families existed and went extinct in the [[Permian-Triassic extinction]] after a prolonged decline beginning in the [[Late Devonian extinction]].   
The '''trilobites''' are an extinct class of marine arthropods. By the time true trilobites appear in the fossil record, during the Cambrian, they are already highly diverse and possess two characteristics that likely served them well to survive in the Paleozoic seas, a well- mineralized exoskeleton, and a highly advanced visual system. They particularly flourished during the Cambrian when the peak number of families existed and went extinct in the [[Permian-Triassic extinction]] after a prolonged decline beginning in the [[Late Devonian extinction]].   
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'''Characters''' (from Fortey 2001 and Prothero 1998): Calcified exoskeleton with clear division into cephalon, thorax and pygidium. Compound eyes with calcite lenses; facial suture along cheek between eye and central glabella; hypostomal wings connected to anterior pits in the axial furrow. Three (possibly four) pairs of cephalic limbs plus filamentous antennae. Biramous legs with branched exites (probably functioning as gills). Fused pygidium with more than one segment.
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Fletcher, T. P. 2005. Holaspid variation in the solenopleurid trilobite ''Parasolenopleura gregaria'' (Billings, 1865) from the Cambrian of Newfoundland. ''Palaeontology'' 48 (5): 1075-1089.
Fletcher, T. P. 2005. Holaspid variation in the solenopleurid trilobite ''Parasolenopleura gregaria'' (Billings, 1865) from the Cambrian of Newfoundland. ''Palaeontology'' 48 (5): 1075-1089.
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Fortey, R. A. 2001. Trilobite systematics: The last 75 years. ''Journal of Paleontology'' 75 (6): 1141-1151.
Gould, S. J. 1989. ''Wonderful Life''. Vintage: London.
Gould, S. J. 1989. ''Wonderful Life''. Vintage: London.

Revision as of 13:58, 7 January 2011

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