SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Trilobite fossil. Fossilised Brogniartella sp. trilobite, rolled into a ball. The trilobites are an extinct group of marine arthropods with a hard, segmented shell that is divided into 3 sections. They were common from the Lower Cambrian to the Upper Permian period (around 543-248 million years ago). Many trilobites could roll themselves up into a ball (as seen here) when threatened. Assuming this position ensured that only the shell was exposed, defending the animal from attack. Most trilobites were bottom dwellers, feeding either on organic sediment or by catching their own prey.
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