Everything Dinosaur team members have had the opportunity to review a new book that documents the evolutionary history of the enigmatic Trilobita. Trilobites evolved during the Cambrian, they are arguably one of the most successful types of animal to have ever lived, with more than 25,000 species named and described to date. Life-long trilobite devotee Andy Secher (American Museum of Natural History, New York), has compiled a comprehensive, and beautifully illustrated book that tells their story, outlines their origins and looks at their amazing variety.

Front cover of "Travels with Trilobites".
The front cover of the beautifully illustrated “Travels with Trilobites” by Andy Secher published by Columbia University Press.

Travels with Trilobites

With forewords by Niles Eldredge, Kirk Johnson and Mark Norell, this book provides a detailed examination of the different genera of trilobites that existed in each geological period, starting with the Class’s evolutionary origins in the Early Cambrian to their eventual demise at the end of the Permian, more than 250 million years later.

Senticucullus elegans fossil.
One of the hundreds of stunning colour photographs from the book “Travels with Trilobites”, many fossils are from the author’s own collection. This beautiful fossil is an example of Senticucullus elegans from the Lower Silurian, Xiushan Formation (Hunan Province, China).

Feeding, Moulting and Reproduction

The author, who is also a co-editor of the American Museum of Natural History’s dedicated trilobite website, explores some of the world’s most famous Palaeozoic Lagerstätten including Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia, the Burgess Shale (British Columbia), the Chengjiang biota (Yunnan Province, China) and the Valongo Formation of Portugal. He documents the trilobites associated with each of these significant fossil locations and also embellishes the history of the Trilobita by including numerous “rapid reports” from other fossiliferous locations.

Travels with Trilobites examines the biology of these remarkable arthropods with the author outlining the development of trilobite eyes, how they breathed, their moulting behaviour, feeding and reproduction. There is even a small section looking at the trilobite fossils associated with the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at Wren’s Nest (Dudley, Birmingham, England).

Trilobite Gill Fossil
One of the exceptionally rare trilobite specimens preserved in iron pyrite (fool’s gold) that led to the gill discovery. Research into the enigmatic Trilobita continues. Picture Credit: Jin-bo Hou/University of California Riverside.

Published by Columbia University Press

Published by Columbia University Press, Travels with Trilobites is an exquisite book and we at Everything Dinosaur recommend it. This book would make an ideal gift for the amateur fossil hunter.

The last section of this enjoyable book, deals with such varied topics as how to spot fake fossils, preparing trilobite fossils, fossil shows around the world and provides an insight into the motivations of specialist trilobite fossil collectors.

Travels with Trilobites – ISBN number: 978-0-231-20096-7 (hardback book)

Total number of pages – 416

Expect to be able to pick up this superb volume for around £30.00 ($40.00 USD)

Visit the Columbia University Press website and search for either the author (Andy Secher) or “Travels with Trilobites”: Columbia University Website.

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