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Trilobites

Part of Grand Gallery.

Several trilobite fossils.

Some of the trilobite fossils on display are hundreds of millions of years old—but they are so exquisitely preserved that the animals seem almost alive, crawling along the seafloor. Trilobites are marine arthropods, a group that also includes insects and horseshoe crabs. The first trilobites evolved some 520 million years ago, during the Cambrian Period, when our planet was mostly covered by water and life forms were becoming more complex and more diverse. Scientists have discovered more than 20,000 species of trilobites, which went extinct 225 million years ago. 

This exhibit is made possible thanks to Martin Shugar, M.D. and Andy Secher.