Devonian trilobite fossil -- Otarion sp. -- one of the creepy crawly ones!
Trilobite Ontarion sp. Age: Mid Devonian (380 - 375 million years ago) Location: Hamar L'Aghdad Limestones, Djebel Issoumour, Anti-Atlas, Morocco
Trilobites were one of the first shelled and jointed animals and appear early in the fossil record. They are an extinct group of arthropods. Like all arthropods they shed their exoskeletons as they grew -- insects and crustaceans do this too. Trilobite exoskeletons were made of calcite. So were the lenses of their eyes! Calcite doesn't break down very easily, so trilobites were terrible litterers -- casting off their unwanted carapaces all over the seafloor. These carapaces are generally the only part of the trilobite which is preserved. Since each trilobite could shed up to seven times, any individual trilobite had multiple chances of becoming a fossil.
This exotic and unusual spiky little trilobite has been beautifully preserved and prepared. It dates from the mid Devonian and has really stood the test of time.