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Trilobites cover
  • ISBN: 9780226474519
  • ISBN10: 0226474518


by Levi-Setti, Riccardo A

  • List Price: $55.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Edition: 0002
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publish date: 07/01/1993
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Long before dinosaurs roamed the earth and fish inhabited the oceans, there were trilobites - one of the most striking groups of animals to populate prehistoric seas. With their exquisitely sculpted shells and finely detailed bodies, these ancient creatures could be as small as a fingernail or nearly two feet across. Magnificently preserved as fossils, trilobites captivate scientists and amateur collectors alike with their stunning beauty and evolutionary importance. In this revised and expanded version of his widely acclaimed book, Riccardo Levi-Setti uses more than two hundred photographs to explore and display the sophisticated structure and visual beauty of these "butterflies of the sea". Between 600 million and 250 million years ago, an astounding number of trilobite species evolved in the world's oceans. Some had spiny appendages, perhaps used for defense or grabbing on to floating organisms while others had sleek bodies for swimming fast. Using inventive macrophotographic techniques, Levi-Setti reveals the rich details of complex structures that are almost impossible to detect on most museum specimens. The photos also suggest how these sea creatures lived and adapted to their changing environment. Although many organisms vanished during a mass extinction 500 million years ago, trilobites continued to flourish in great variety and abundance for millions of years thereafter. Levi-Setti documents their persistence through time with specimens that exhibit the rich array of trilobite diversity. But this is more than a catalog of natural beauty; it is also an engaging commentary on the history of life on earth. By presenting the array of trilobite families and analyzing how their sizesand shapes changed through geological time, Levi-Setti shows how trilobites contribute to our understanding of evolution. In addition, he completes the pioneering studies of giant New Foundland trilobites and trilobite eyes that he began two decades ago. With his meticulously detailed photographs and lively text, Levi-Setti educates the student, informs the scholar, intrigues the collector, and captivates the general reader. Although we can only hold in our hands the fossilized remains of these long-extinct creatures, Trilobites brings them to life for everyone curious about our remote past.
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