Paralejurus spatuliformis Trilobite

Potential transitional species

Paralejurus spatuliformis

Trilobites Order Corynexochida, Family Styginidae

Geological Time: Middle Devonian

Size: Trilobite is 62 mm long

Fossil Site: Mrakib, Alnif , Morocco

Paralejurus spatuliformis TrilobiteDescription: A member of the Order Corynexochida, Family Syginidae from the Middle Devonian deposits of Alnif, Morocco, this is an ENTIRELY NEW Scutellid-like member of the genus Paralejurus. At first glance, it looks like a Paralejurus when only the cephalon is viewed. When the matrix is rotated to see the pygidium, it can be seen to be that of the typical Scutellum, but has some terracing more like a Paralejurus. When I first saw an example at the Tucson fossil show last year I was unsure as to its taxonomy. A well known US collector of trilobites whose collection of specimens is only surpassed by his collection of literature informed me recently that this one is known as Paralejurus spatuliformis. The genus derives its name from the spatulate pygidium which is far fifferent from the vaulted forms of Paralejurus dormitzieri for example. It is most closely related to the contemporaneous Paralejurus richteri of the Czech Repulic and younger Paralejurus galloisi from France. Since both Paralejurus and Scutellum are members of the same family, it is not unreasonable to expect that transitional species could occur. While the two-tone color of the pygidium may be an artifact of preservation, I am inclined to believe it may well reflect the natural difference in coloration. With the advent of a reliable source of electricity in Morocco, the quality of preparation has improved dramatically over the past few years. While I used to refer to trilobites prepared in a mode similar to this as flying, I feel a new term is warranted by the preparation now coming into vogue. This one is stunning from any aspect.

Reference: Journal of Palaeontology, 78 (4) 2004, pp 709-722.

Also see: Moroccan Trilobites

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