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Trilobite Takedown

Part of SciCafe

fossil of trilobite paradoxides gracilis

Whether you revel in their many Paleozoic permutations, view them as bizarre remnants of a distant time, or are a devotee of #TrilobiteTuesday, there’s no denying that trilobites are fascinating. These fossil arthropods were among the first animals to show up in large numbers in the fossil record, and they lived for almost 300 million years before going extinct. Join Assistant Curator Melanie Hopkins as she unlocks the early evolution of animals using trilobites as the key.

This SciCafe occured on February 7, 2018. Hear the full talk in this episode of the [email protected] podcast, or watch a video version below:


About the Speaker

Melanie Hopkins
Melanie Hopkins is an assistant curator in the Division of Paleontology. 

Dr. Melanie Hopkins is assistant curator in the Division of Paleontology at the Museum. Dr. Hopkins’s research focuses on the study of morphological evolution in the fossil record. She is interested in the quantification and analysis of complex morphology; analysis of within-lineage tempo and mode of evolution; the influence of covariation and ontogenetic variation on the long-term evolution of lineages; the interaction between morphological change and environmental change; and the importance of scale and hierarchy in understanding long-term patterns of evolutionary change and the processes underlying them.

Read More

  • Learn more about this month’s SciCafe speaker here
  • Watch Dr. Melanie Hopkins speak about her research on the evolution of trilobites.
  • publication on one of the most fascinating and diverse groups in the fossil record. 
  • Checkout the trilobite of the month  and learn more about the orders of trilobites.
  • Read a recent article by Hopkins on the trilobite digestive system.
  • blog post on the preparation process used to identify a given specimen’s species.

Frequent Geek Cards

Get your card stamped at the information table when you attend SciCafe.

  • Three stamps—get a free drink
  • Five stamps—get a free Frequent Geek T-shirt.
  • All nine stamps— and receive get two tickets to a special exhibition of your choice.
  • Bring three friends who are new to SciCafe to become a "SciCafe Ambassador”—an honor that comes with a free drink!


Show your SciCafe spirit! Best picture posted on social media using #AMNHSciCafe will be selected at the end of the evening to receive geeky giveaways.


This program is made possible by OceanX, an initiative of the Dalio Foundation, as part of its generous support of the special exhibition Unseen Oceans and its related educational activities and public programs.