North Africa, Anti-Atlas Mountains - Morocco, Ordovician period, ca. 485 to 443 million years ago. A colossal natural history piece showing some of the exotic life-forms that lived on our planet almost a half a billion years ago, this enormous specimen demonstrates the deadly events in past history where large numbers of creatures died at the hands of a brutal environment. This massive slab of twenty-six complete and partial large Asaphus trilobites is a show-stopping specimen. This is a naturally occurring mass death assemblage of these trilobites on their original matrix, prepared to expose the fossils in their original pose as when buried. Size: 40" W x 39" H (101.6 cm x 99.1 cm)
Asaphus is a genus of trilobites, that is known from the Lower and Middle Ordovician Period. Trilobites are a fossil group of extinct marine arthropods that form one of the earliest known groups of arthropods. The first appearance of trilobites in the fossil record defines the base of the Atdabanian stage of the Early Cambrian period (521 million years ago), and they flourished throughout the lower Paleozoic era before beginning a drawn-out decline to extinction when, during the Devonian, all trilobite orders except the Proetids died out. Trilobites disappeared in the mass extinction at the end of the Permian about 252 million years ago. Trilobites were among the most successful of all early animals, roaming the oceans for over 270 million years.
By the time trilobites first appeared in the fossil record, they were already highly diversified and geographically dispersed. Because trilobites had wide diversity and an easily fossilized exoskeleton, they left an extensive fossil record, with some 17,000 known species spanning Paleozoic time. The study of these fossils has facilitated important contributions to biostratigraphy, paleontology, evolutionary biology, and plate tectonics.
Provenance: acquired in 2006 from a French collection
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