Check out this 480 million-year-old conga line of arthropods

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/18/check-out-this-480-million-yea.html

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Makes me wonder if they migrated like spiny lobsters do from Florida through the Carribean

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Cool. I love trilobites, but they are rare in Kansas (oddly, since it was a shallow sea for so long.)

But I found this guy for only $3 at the ren fair.

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Where the heck did you go fossil hunting that you found trilobites? I only ever found clam and oyster shells, and maybe some of those pointy ones.

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I know Ohio, Utah, and Oklahoma have some well known beds. I am sure other states do too.

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I used to find them pretty easily around the slate quarries where I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania.

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Did they all die at once? That’s my assumption from, oh… several minutes of experience with this. My mind leaps to if this might point to further evidence of a mass die-off sedimentary layer. Or maybe they just had a all for one and one for all mentality going on here.

Regardless, it’s fascinating stuff.

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Conga line or orgy?

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Could be both… conga line to the orgy.

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They’re pretty common along the Helderberg escarpment in upstate New York; there’s an upper Devonian formation there that was a coral reef with diverse life. Lots of brachiopods, tentaculites, crinoids, as well as the corals and trilobites.

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In 2008, two researchers speculated that the clusters formed when several Ampyx ducked into a burrow to avoid a predator. But when Vannier and his colleagues looked over their newfound fossils, excavated near Zagora, Morocco, they didn’t see any evidence of burrows.
“It’s a bit of the nail in the coffin for that [burrow] hypothesis,” Paterson says. Instead, they think the Ampyx lines marched along the seafloor until low-oxygen sediments stirred up by storm waves rapidly buried them.

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We like to talk about life starting billions of years ago but in fact pretty much everything which we recognize in living things (beyond bacteria) is 500 million years old. That doesn’t seem very long to me. We evolved fast.

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And took a very long time to start doing it.

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A quick google for Moore’s law and biology found the following.

Their findings are a bit cough suspect.

This seems a bit more down to earth.

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Let’s not forget Hallucigenia . . .

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Oh, they got 3 of them now.

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They tend to be really pricey at gem & mineral shows. You found a good deal, I think. Nothing for scale though?

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Its about the size of a quarter. I have a really big one, about 7 in long, but I think it’s at least a partial cast.

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Sorry, what were we talking about again?

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Minnesota here. My dad took us kids fossil hunting. Mostly we found crinoids and simple shells, but sometimes a trilobite or two as well. Dad liked that, he was a trilobite man.

Quoting from the “Equatorial Minnesota” blog of Justin Tweet, “a researcher and writer who has been helping to inventory and catalog the fossil resources of the National Park Service”:

My experience is that even though guides to Minnesota fossils call trilobites rare, pieces of trilobites are actually fairly common. It’s just you’ll need to calibrate your expectations away from beautiful complete specimens to a ton of Eomonarchus intermedius pygidia, indeterminate fragments of larger trilobites, and the occasional cephalon.

Trilobites @ Equatorial Minnesota

I will add further notes (and possibly write some fiction about trilobites … suggestions, anyone?) @ the Gnomon Chronicles:

http://gnomonchronicles.com/wiki/Trilobite_(nonfiction)

Okay, I found my first related fiction:

http://gnomonchronicles.com/wiki/The_Occasional_Cephalon

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