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Wow, Devonian Park! If anyone would like to book me an all expenses paid ticket then I'm listening! I have never found a trilobite as the rocks in my area are not old enough to contain them, unfortunately. One day I hope to as I think that trilobites are even more interesting than ammonites in their own peculiar way. (I sense tomatos' heading my way?)
Seriously, I think that's a great plan, what a fantastic way to get the public interested in the subject of palaeontology. From my very limited experience I find that fossil collecting is regarded by many people as a little strange. I think this attitude seems to stem from a lack of understanding of the subject. Yet if you can persuade these doubters to go along to a site then after they have found their first fossil, collecting becomes a bit of a drug and you can't get them off the beach!
It is a healthy hobby as it involves the imagination, investigation, research and physical work in the glorious outdoors. One can almost switch off and time flies by as one attempts to discover something better than the specimen that has just been found. Once home, the fun lies with the cleaning and attempting to identify what was found that day. No matter whether you have found a remarkable find or not, at least you've had a good day out in the fresh air!
Let's hope that projects such as this inspire some kids at an impressionable age to go ahead and pursue a future career in palaeontology, or at the very least retain an awareness of history and the majesty of the natural world..
I've always thought that trilobites are very difficult things to learn to identify as there were so many variations. As your specimen is somewhat worn and a bit lacking in surface detail I'm afraid I cannot be certain. I thought initially that it was Phacops but the glabella, or the central lump on on the head shield looks the wrong shape.
However, having examined a few pictures I'm pretty convinced that it is a trilobite that belonged to the Suborder Calymenina (part of the Order Phacopida). I'd imagine the animal you have there is Calymene sp, or certainly a very closely linked animal. This was a late Ordovician-Silurian trilobite.
It looks like the fossil has undergone severe and very crude repair. Can you be certain the head, or cephalon, even belongs to the same animal? It should have 11-13 segments on the thorax and a rounded tail (pygidium).
This particular trilobite is, I'm afraid, fairly common and are frequently found in fossil shops around the world. A main source of these seems to be Morocco at the moment. Even though it is not rare, it does not make it any less interesting, though!
Just discovered this amusing fact whilst looking Calymene up: it is known as the 'Dudley locust'. It was so common in quarries in Dudley near Birmingham, UK, that it actually features on the town's coat of arms!
For information on trilobites this is the ultimate resource on the web:
I am not surprised that this is a common sort of trilobite, although trilobites remain rare in its current bookshelf habitat. The repair is crude enough to make it uncertain whether the two parts are from one trilobite. There are 11 - 13 visible ridges, depending on whether you count all visible or only entire intact ridges. The tail is rounded. I'll look up Calymene later to try to confirm whether this is one of Dudley's locusts. I'm sure you have made a more accurate determination than I will be able to do.
Fossils were available everywhere when I was in Morocco, and I understand you can visit the places where they are dug and where some are "made." Apparently, fossil creation has become something of an art. We neglected all this in favor of flamingos and Roman ruins.
Don't blame you Melissa. Ruins and flamingos are somewhat more spectacular.
I doubt if your fossil is faked, just the join may be circumspect. I doubt if anyone would make a fake realistic-looking resin fossil and then slap some crude paste on at the join to make it appear dubious! But then, you never know......
Phil, I agree, "making" a good fossil to break it would be a waste of effort.
I can't help but be impressed by the efforts to create fossils. Wasn't there something about a new find in China that was subsequently suspected to be faked? I don't think that was a ceph, but it was fascinating.