Superb Greenops Trilobite with Preserved Color Patterns

Greenops grabaui

Trilobite Order Phacopida, Family Acastidae

Geological Time: Middle Devonian

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Trilobite is 32 mm long by 20 mm wide on 80 mm by 55 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Hamilton Group, Ellicottville, Cattaragus County, New York

Fossil Code: MMT28

Price: $495.00 - sold

Greenops grabauiDescription: This is a most unusual trilobite that comes from the same site as the Eldredgeops specimens I have offered in the past (see my other offerings for examples). Notice the pleasing café au lait color, the regular darkened spots to the exoskeleton, and the dark tips to the genal spines. Notice the light circle on the right gemal spine. The person who collected this specimen has only seen such a marking once before. Perhaps it is the result of some circular epibiont that fell off or dissolved during diagenesis? Some of these markings have been interpreted as the positions of internal muscle attachments. An alternative hypothesis is that the dark spots are actually preserved melanophores which could expand an contract, allowing the trilobite to change color as it moved about the seafloor surface much like the extant Plaice and Sole. Whatever the correct interpretation, these colors are of natural, rather than diagenic origin preserved here with remarkable fidelity. This is the finest example of such a specimen that I have seen, and will be sure to serve as the cornerstone of any trilobite collection. Note the numerous associated specimens of various other life forms from the Devonian seafloor: among them an Eldredgeops pygidium, a Rhipidomella brachiopod, a Stereolasma horn coral, and a Longispina bivalve.

Reference: Paleontology Vol. 11, Part 4, 1968 pp 498-9.

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