|Butterflies of the Sea
No animal better
captures the drama of evolution and extinction. Long before the fish
inhabited the seas and the Dinosaurs roamed the land, Trilobites
appeared some 600 million years ago during the Cambrian period. They
belonged the phylum Arthropodal (joint-footed), a phylum which to this
day represents the most successful (78%) of all animal life forms,
including crabs, centipedes, spiders, shrimps and insects.The
Trilobites, living in shallow seas, flourished as swimmers, crawlers and
burrowers for some 350 million years. They evolved rapidly into many
beautiful, bizarre and, even by today's standards, futuristic forms.
Trilobite--meaning three lobed one--is in reference to the three
longitudinal lobes across their heads (cephalon), consisting of a
slightly raised central lobe (the axis) and two flatter pleural lobes on
either side. The entire bodies were also divided into three: the head (cephalon),
thorax (chest) made up to a group of up to 30 segments and the tail (pygidium).
Underneath and rarely preserved are three pairs of legs for the head and
paired legs for each pleural groove. Trilobites are the earliest known
animal to possess vision. Some possessed eyes and some seem to have no
eyes at all, while others possessed beautiful compound eyes capable of
360 degree vision.
capturing man's eye some 25,000 years ago in France where two specimens
were found is association with a Cro-magnon settlement, at a site called
"La Grotte du Trilobite", one was found with a hole drilled into it and
worn as an adornment. Others have been found in the tombs of Egypt,
Greece and Rome. Sold on the street of 15th Century Europe and collected
by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, today they are collected,
studied and enjoyed by people from all walks of life.
these extraordinary marine creatures are found on all continents,
entrapped in the hardened sediments of Ancient Seas. The following
Trilobites have been prepared by a Master of his Art, Jeffrey Hammer,
who spends countless hours under a microscope to open one of these time
capsules and to unveil one of Nature's Frozen Masterpieces allowing a view back in
time to the Dawn of Life.