MIDAS TOUCH Pyritized Eldredgeops Trilobite

with Preserved Sensory Bristles

Eldregeops (Phacops) rana

Trilobites Order Phacopida, Family Phacopidae

Geological Time: Middle Devonian

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Trilobite is 25 mm (curve measure); Matrix: 90 mm by 50 mm

Fossil Site: Windom Shale, Hamilton Group, Moscow Formation, Erie County, New York

Code: PYT121

Price: Sold

Eldredgeops TrilobiteDescription: Here is a remarkable example of preservation: a totally pyritized Eldredgeops rana trilobite. Its rich golden color has led me to coin the term Midas Touch when referring to these specimens. This is a recent find, and one that I do not believe has ever been offered before. Pyrite is typically prone to the oxidative degradation termed “pyrite disease”. Examples of these have been subjected to forcing conditions with no ill effects. Nevertheless as a precaution they have been given a coating of an archival quality material which is employed in the conservation of ancient artifacts. While all found to date are somewhat small, they make up for lack of size in tremendous eye appeal. This one is preserved enrolled in left lateral view. What is most unusual about this one is the presence of what must have been sensory bristles preserved on the pleurae. These have not been documented before, particularly not in a pyritized specimen. Sensory papillae have been theorized before without any actual visible proof. Some trilobites such as the Russian Ordovician as asaphids are known to possess pits on the exoskeleton, and some believe they might have held papillae which served a sensory function just like the vibrissae (whiskers) of the family cat. I include here a negative photo to make them more apparent. The discoverer and preparatory has also seen these is other trilobites, and Bob Carroll has told me in the past that Cyphaspis carrolli and Kettneraspis williamsi also sport these features but they never survive the preparation process. Some day I will get to Bob’s to document them.

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