Spectacularly Spiny Erbenochile Moroccan Trilobite

Erbenochile aff erbeni

Trilobites Order Phacopida, Suborder Phacopina, Superfamily Acastoidea, Family Acastidae

Geological Time: Lower Devonian, Upper Emsian

Size: Trilobite is 57 mm long by 41 mm wide on a 125 by 100 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Jebel Oudriss , Morocco

Code: 18090

Price: Sold

ErbenochileDescription: Elegant example of a member of the Order Phacopida, Superfamily Acastoidea with many fine details present. Once known in the trade as “Big Eye”, this one is actually Erbenochile, and has recently become commercially available in limited quantities. The most diagnostic features of this taxon are the high “eye-towers”. Fortey and Chatterton described Erbenochile erbeni in September 2003 from a single commercially- prepared specimen, and it created a stampede among collectors. The “wrap around” eyes gave a good panoramic view of the trilobite’s environment, Erbenochile Moroccan Trilobite allowing it to keep alert for predator and prey alike. Since fish had recently evolved true jaws, any advantage a prey species could derive would place it at an advantage. This one has been prepared with the genal and axial spines all freestanding, quite an achievement from such hard matrix. Note the exceptional eye facets seen here, a feature that is difficult to prepare well due to the matrix.. About 10 years ago a second species Erbenochile issomourensis was described from Jebel Issoumour with the main differences being a lower eye tower and lack of a sunshade. Early this year a third site at Jebel Oudriss turned up a very few examples that while they looked like E erbeni they had much more dramatic spinose tubercles to the genals and thoracic segments. There is a progression in the robust nature of these elements, being smallest in E issoumourensis and greatest in the Jebel Oudriss material. This one has taken it to the extreme, with the most pronounced examples I have seen. This specimen was painstakingly prepared with the spines in situ over the course of three weeks, resulting in the spectacular specimen seen here. I have included some in preparation photos that demonstrate the spines are authentic to the specimen, At this point it is not certain whether this material constitutes a new species or not. I will play it safe and simply refer to it as Erbenochile affinis erbeni for the time being.

A specimen of the very rare Erbenochile issomourensis may be seen here, and here is another Erbenochile erbeni specimen.

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Erbenochile Moroccan Trilobite

Trilobite in preparation:

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