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Cambrian - Carboniferous Spike Headed Trilobites


piranha

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Recently I posted on the bizarre trilobite Senticucullus from the Silurian of China. The unusual feature of that trilobite is 9 cephalic spines adorning each of its free cheeks. As an intriguing follow-up I present this late Cambrian (Sunwaptan) terror of the sea: Bowmania americana. Although the Holotype was found in Nevada, the specimens shown here are from the Rabbitkettle and Shallow Bay formations of Canada. This spectacularly spiked trilobite carried 50 spines on a yoked pair of free cheeks.... count 'em! emo31.gif

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Edited by piranha
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How unusual!

I wonder what they were for?

Thanks for posting this, Scott. Very interesting.

Regards

PS. - Maybe..... Mayan apocalypse?

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:P

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    Tim    -  VETERAN SHALE SPLITTER

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On 12/20/2012 at 3:35 PM, Fossildude19 said:

How unusual!

I wonder what they were for?

Thanks for posting this, Scott. Very interesting.

Regards

PS. - Maybe..... Mayan apocalypse?

post-2806-0-52890200-1356035642_thumb.jpg

:P

:hearty-laugh:

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Bowmania%20americana-2-3.jpg

Tim's fancy artwork reminded me of another stylized trilobite cartoon that debuted either in 1839 or 1843.

It was previously online at Rolf Ludvigsen's website: D.I.R.T. (Denman Institute for Research on Trilobites)

The website is currently inactive but if you feel nostalgic it can still be accessed at the Wayback :ninja: Machine

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Sorry for the thread derailment Scott. :blush:

Seriously, though, do they have any theories on what function such spines may have served?

They look a bit thin for defensive purposes, but perhaps they increased the perception of size to a predator?

Very curious indeed.

Regards,

PS - That drawing you posted is quite whimsical. I liked it allot.

Edited by Fossildude19

    Tim    -  VETERAN SHALE SPLITTER

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"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."

John Muir ~ ~ ~ ~   ><))))( *>  About Me      

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...do they have any theories on what function such spines may have served?...

Probably multi-purposed; digging and probing, stability for drifting / floating near the substrate, and last but not least, a convincing deterrent to any would be predators.

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Thanks for the insights, Scott.

Regards,

    Tim    -  VETERAN SHALE SPLITTER

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"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."

John Muir ~ ~ ~ ~   ><))))( *>  About Me      

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Seems there is no end to trilobite variation..

BTW for non-Americans, the Rabbitkettle and Shallow Bay Fms are in NWT and Newfoundland respectively. ;)

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...Seems there is no end to trilobite variation...

Just to follow up on this topic I found another similarly spike-headed marvel. The fascinating tidbit is this genus is a Carboniferous example. Typically the trilobites from the last three surviving families of the Carboniferous to Permian extinction are rather nondescript by comparison. Then with one last triumphant display, Namuropyge is the final holdout of the spiny menagerie of trilobites. Namuropyge has worldwide distribution across Asia, Australia, Europe and the USA. Namuropyge cuyahogae is my favorite of this bunch with three comb-like spines on each of its genal spines! For the Midwest collectors who are interested, the figured species of N. cuyahogae can be found in the Cuyahoga Shales of Ohio and the Chouteau LS of Missouri.

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Those are just as flashy as the Devonian ones... another new one on me!

BTW what are the 3 C/P families?

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On 12/21/2012 at 5:40 PM, Wrangellian said:

Those are just as flashy as the Devonian ones... another new one on me!

BTW what are the 3 C/P families?

Order Proetida

Aulacopleuridae

Brachymetopidae

Phillipsiidae

Proetidae

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Thanks..

Another question a little off topic if you don't mind: I've always wondered what is the last recorded trilobite and how close to the P extinction did it live? Maybe this one deserves another thread (if it hasn't already been answered somewhere).

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Thanks..

Another question a little off topic if you don't mind: I've always wondered what is the last recorded trilobite and how close to the P extinction did it live? Maybe this one deserves another thread (if it hasn't already been answered somewhere).

This chart shows the last 5 trilobites that made it to the finish line... :o

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Poor Ditomopyge. It had a nice run, but in the end, it was a day late and a dollar short.

Context is critical.

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Thanks again, Scott, Wow, I was unaware that any had actually made it to the very end! Must be pretty rare fossils. I'd be interested to see if any members have examples of these, or, to get back on topic, your spiny ones above.....

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Poor Ditomopyge. It had a nice run, but in the end, it was a day late and a dollar short.

Still a noble and notable survivor... emo57.gif

...or, to get back on topic, your spiny ones above.....

...or below... :P

One important correction: Proetidae had a range into the Carboniferous-Permian, so 4 families by most accounts.

There is some dispute depending on who you ask if Phillipsiidae gets a family or subfamily (Phillipsiinae) ranking.

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Thanks again, Scott, Wow, I was unaware that any had actually made it to the very end! Must be pretty rare fossils. I'd be interested to see if any members have examples of these, or, to get back on topic, your spiny ones above.....

I have the Psuedophillipsia that made it to the end. Two specimens from Russia. For these they are rather large trilobites in Permian, very cool I need to take pictures of these soon.

Ok after many other diversions tonight I took some photos, have a bunch of this trilobite in my gallery plus many other trilobites I just put up but here are some examples:

Pseudophillipsia artiensis (1.5 inches for complete and 2 inches for the one missing free cheeks)

Lower Permian

Artinskian

Middle Urals,

Krasnoufimsk, Russia

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Pseudophillipsia artiensis (1.5 inches for complete

Lower Permian

Artinskian

Middle Urals,

Krasnoufimsk, Russia

Perfection!

Context is critical.

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One more spike-headed participant to add to this thread. Phacops is easily one of the most recognized and iconic standard-bearers of all Trilobita and also has a piercing presence in this category. Echinophacops is found in the Devonian (late Emsian) Zhusileng Formation of Inner Mongolia. There are a handful of phacopid trilobites with small genal and axial spines but this one beats them all with 17 spines sprouting from the glabella and lateral margins of the cephalon. The Greek word 'Echinos' for this spiny genus is certainly on point! :P

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Since the spike-headed trilobite theme evolved in this thread to include an example from the Cambrian through the Carboniferous, I would be remiss not to add a genus from the Ordovician. The obvious choice has to be from the Odontopleuridae and the spikiest specimens come from the middle Ordovician Shenandoah Valley formations of northern Virginia. Whittington (1956) described 6 different species of Diacanthaspis preserved in exquisite silicified detail. All of these remarkable examples represent an incredible lineup of family diversity spread over 200+ million years of spine-headed trilobite evolution.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!cava.gif

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