2.5" Flying Hollardops Trilobite - Ofaten, Morocco
This is a large, 2.5" long example of the trilobite Hollardops merocristata from Ofaten, Morocco. Very nice preparation, with nice shell detail including preserved eye facets in both eyes. The limestone surrounding it has been removed so that it appears to "fly" above the rock. This is a very time consuming process which requires a lot of skill.
Trilobites were a very diverse group of extinct marine arthropods. They first appeared in the fossil record in the Early Cambrian (521 million years ago) and went extinct during the Permian mass extinction (250 million years ago). They were one of the most successful of the early animals on our planet with over 25k described species, filling nearly every evolutionary niche. Due in large part to a hard exoskeleton (shell), they left a excellent fossil record.