Gallery of Trilobites
The Trilobita, an extinct class of Paleozoic marine arthropods, was made up of 10 orders, over 150 families, about 5,000 genera and over 25,000 described species.
Click on The Orders Of Trilobites to learn how the Class Trilobita is organized and to view examples of each Order.
Click on each Period below to view representative species, or use the search bar above to search for a specific species or locality (e.g. U.S.A., Czech, England).
Much like the eternal question of whether a zebra is a white horse with black stripes, or a black horse with white stripes, we have long considered whether The AMNH Trilobite Website is a photo site with accompanying essays, or an essay site with accompanying photographs. The bottom line is that either way, we hope we have achieved a somewhat harmonious balance of words and photos that provide a proper forum for expressing our admiration, fascination and yes, love, for those uniquely ancient arthropods, the trilobites.
The photographs featured on this site have been purposefully selected for a variety of reasons. Perhaps paramount among these is the simple desire to best showcase the magnificent diversity inherent within the trilobite class. From the streamlined body design of various Illaenids, to the anatomical complexity and unmatched majesty of Lichids, to the spines, spikes and compound eyes that often adorn properly prepared members of the Phacopid order, our intent has been to provide full reign to the amazing variety of morphological configurations that trilobites achieved during their 270 million year trek through evolutionary time.
In addition, and in conjunction with this site's basic premise, every photo has been strategically placed either by geographical region and time period, or to best reflect the faunal content of each featured trilobite location At times, they even been presented to enhance the singular paleontological point being presented. Thus a veritable “gallery” of Rochester Shale specimens has been aligned within our story of that deposit's famed Silurian quarry, just as a stunning display of Paradoxides trilobites from all corners of the globe accompany our essay on Plate Tectonics & Continental Drift.
One of our most daunting challenges was deciding how to best organize the voluminous material that appears on this site. While all content revolves around a singular subject, it does cover a broad swath of terrain, both literally and figuratively. During this process, we continually asked ourselves whether this material would be most effective and enjoyable if grouped by geologic time period… by geographical region… by related topic. At times it seemed that no solution would neatly encompass everything we hoped to present, and that no matter which editorial path we chose to follow, not all content would fit succinctly into any such restrictive outline. But whether or not you agree with our decisions, our opinions or even our choice of destinations, hopefully you'll find this website to be an enlightening and entertaining sojourn into the Deep-Time world inhabited by those masters of the Paleozoic seas, the trilobites.
Oh, and by the way, in case there was any question, a zebra is a white horse with black stripes.