Nankinolithis sp. Trilobite 145mm; An ancient trilobite and member of the Order Asaphida, the Family Trinucleidae. The Nankinolithus with hundreds of cephalic holes (fenestrae) which distinguish the Trinucleids and are very obvious to the naked eye.
These pits or little holes have been a point of interest and discussion for some time, as theories swing one way and another. Thought to be how the trilobite filtered its food from the seafloor. The thinking was that the trilobite hovered over the seabed and disturbed the fine silts with its legs to send up a murky soup of particulates which then passed through the cephalic ring and those pits or holes.
That theory now accepted in some quarters as a non-starter as no pit or hole perforates completely through the cephalic rim through the cephalic ring in any specimen yet discovered. Theories also centred on a sensory function; however, the thinking is still out on just what this enigmatic bug’s pitted cephalic structures were evolved to do?
One thing is absolute, the specimen offered here is a splendid example and in the order of this trilobite is a unique quality specimen, naturally positioned on the bedrock which once formed the silts of the ancient ocean of the Devonian period — a collectors apex specimen type.
Condition report: The rust-red colour of the trilobite is due to minerals that persisted in the fossil bedding plane. The fossil specimen consists of a negative and a positive plate; each piece exhibiting the most exquisite detail. The preparators hand has sympathetically removed all the sticky matrix and ground around the positive three-dimensional carapace of the trilobite, and the pygidium segment is particularly attractive in being delightfully raised and undercut and thus highlighting the rim of pygidium very well, with a deftness of hand which has created a top-class collector piece. From approximately 400,000,000 years ago, a glimpse into prehistoric life of one of the earliest creatures dwelling on our planet.