UNUSUAL Gondwanaspis Dramatically Spined Moroccan Trilobite

Gondwanaspis (Taemasaspis) mrirtensis

Trilobites Order Lichida (Some list as Odontopleurida), Family Odontopleuridae

Geological Time: Middle Devonian

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Trilobite is 28 mm long by 27 mm wide (counting spines) on a 65 mm by 80 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Jebel Issoumour, Alnif , Morocco

Fossil Code: 12093

Price: $895.00

Gondwanaspis mrirtensis TrilobiteDescription: Elegant example of an unusual trilobite which has recently become available, which currently goes under the name Gondwanaspis, but has also been renamed Taeasaspis. Whatever name you choose to call it, it is a most unusual odontopleurid. Here again nomenclature is in flux with members of the family Odonotopleuridae being assigned to a new order Odontopleurida. I will stay with the more conservative assignment to Lichida until the scientific community makes up its mind. Whatever the name and order, this taxon has the distinguishing feature of being the last odontopleurids to go extinct during the Frasnian/Famenian Great Extinction Event, leaving the Proetida and Phacopida as the sole surviving orders going forward. The genus was somewhat cosmopolitan in its distribution, having been found in France, Germany, Morocco, Siberia, and Australia. This one has been prepared with the cephalic and pleural spines protected by matrix. The genal and cephalic spines are thought to have rested on the surface of the substrate allowing them to form a “basket” for feeding. No collection of trilobites can be considered complete without an example of this unusual taxon. See my other offerings for an example in which the cephalicand genals have been prepared freestanding, a most labor-intensive effort.

Reference: Geol. Mag. 144 (3), pp777-796, 2007

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