Enigmatic Pyritized Arthropod Fossil with Soft Tissue Preserved

Arthropoda indet

Geological Time: Late Ordovician

Size: mm (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Fossil is 11 mm long by 7 mm tall on an 80 mm by 58 mm matrix

Foosil Site: Whetstone Gulf Formation, Lorraine Group, Lewis County, New York

Fossil Code: PYT131

Price: Sold

 Museum Arthropod FossilDescription: With only about a half dozen localities known, trilobites with soft tissue preservation are rare. A well-known site in the United States is Beecher’s Trilobite bed where examples of Triarthrus, Cryptolithus, and Cornuproetus are known. In 2005 a new location in Lewis County was discovered which will take its place in this select group as a site containing Triarthrus eatoni with preserved appendages. These trilobites were buried rapidly, resulting in an anoxic environment which allowed for infilling with fine-grained pyretic deposits that preserved the details seen here. This enigmatic arthropod is found in the same deposits, and at present has no parallel in the literature. Note the long preserved limbs, strongly indicative of a pelagic rather than benthic habitat. The circular structure in the anterior is believed to be the eye; its large size indicates that vision was an important sense. This one was almost sure to have been a predator. Note the presence of a faint trace of an antenna as well. A similar specimen is being studied, and hopefully a scientific description in the future will be published. I have included a negative image that makes the features more apparent.

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