with Most Unusual Color Preserved
Order Phacopida, Family Phacopidae
Time: Middle Devonian
mm = 1 inch): Trilobite is 25 mm long (if straight) by 17 mm wide Matrix:
15 mm by 35 mm by 45 mm high
Hamilton Group, Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County, New York
This is a most unusual trilobite. Notice the pleasing café au
lait color, and the regular darkened spots to the exoskeleton.
These marking have been interpreted as the positions of internal
muscle attachments. The current hypothesis is that the dark spots
are actually preserved melanophores which could expand and contract,
allowing the trilobite to change color as it moved about the
seafloor surface much like the extant Plaice and Sole. These
colors are of natural, rather than diagenic origin. The specimens
were initially collected from a site on the border with Pennsylvania
several decades ago, and to my knowledge specimens such as these
have not been offered commercially until recently. This fine
enrolled example is self-displayed on a matrix pedestal which
has a flattened base.
another example, see:
Thomas E. Whiteley et al, Trilobites of New York, Plate 103.
Paleontology Vol. 11, Part 4, 1968 pp 498-9.
Geology, 05/2013; 41(5): pp 607-61
trilobite pictures to enlarge