Free Lecture Series: Dr. Brian Chatterton

Date(s) - 18/03/2017
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Topic: The Ins and Outs of trilobites, around the world

Trilobites are one of the most common fossils in rocks between ~540 million years old to 245 million years old, that is roughly half of the rocks that contain abundant fossils of many celled organisms. The last remnants died out during the end Permian mass extinction, perhaps the greatest mass extinction of all. They are interesting animals in that they were very active (some could burrow and others swim, but all could walk), and as far as we know all had legs and feelers (antennae), and most had eyes to see.  The talk will illustrate many trilobites and the places where they are found; and will include discussion of  trilobite life cycles, life habits, with particular reference to the research and interests of the speaker and his students, who have collected and published on trilobites from 6 of the 7 continents. Some aspects of trilobites that we have studied, apart from collecting, identifying, describing, and naming (if necessary) trilobites include: their growth from minute larvae (well under half a mm in length) to the largest adults (up to 76cm long); their life habits (did they swim, walk, burrow in the bottom sediments, congregate in groups for protection and/or reproduction?); the marks they left on the sea floor when they were alive (trace fossils); special examples of preservation (why many complete specimens are well preserved in particular situations); preservation of their internal organs and soft parts (alimentary tract and appendages – legs and antennae); special features that evolved for protection from fierce predators (spines, thick, corrugated shells, tails that could flap, etc); and some of the events (causes?) surrounding periodic  global mass extinctions of organisms that affected trilobites. The trilobites that will be illustrated in the talk mainly come from areas where I have worked in Canada, USA, Australia, Argentina, China, Europe, and North Africa (Morocco). Trilobites from Canada come from eastern, western, southern, northern and Arctic regions.

Location: Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family Theatre

Time: 3:00pm

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