Phacops speculator trilobite 46mm, authentic and superbly preserved ancient arthropod displaying exceedingly well on the original fossil rock bed, matrix the invertebrate perished upon long ago. The whole carapace of the trilobite clearly defined, enabling a very insight into the attributes of this type of Phacops speculator trilobite. The prolific pimples which are in fact termed turbucles covering the entire exoskeleton or carapace, these lobed and segmented exoskeletons or carapaces fossilised while the softer body parts were almost always lost to the ravages of fossilisation, predation or bacterial breakdown. The, for body size relation of the enlarged eyes are also well defined, preservation is such that the trilobite displays an inflated exoskeleton which elevates the trilobite away from the base rock in a very good three dimensional posture, as it might have done in life, thus giving a really clear idea of the size and form of the arthropod when extant back in the Devonian period.
This specimen Phacops speculator has been cleaved from the limestone rock and subsequently by means of a pen sized pneumatic drill taking many hours to clean carefully so not to damage the surface of the exoskeleton. After the majority of bed-rock has been removed, the process of cleaning in earnest begins with another air powered minature pen tool, the mini sand blaster or air abrasive pen. Laboriously the remaining rock which is stuck to the trilobite carapace is professionally removed bit by bit in a lab under an enclosed sand blasting unit. In the process the trilobite carapace is semi polished. The next step is to use finer and finer grade polishing sand to clean and buff the exoskeleton to what you see here, polished and gleaming black, which is the natural colour of the now fossilised exoskeleton of the once extant arthropod. The exoskeleton in the fossil bed has absorbed mineral deposits of the fossil bedding plain, the chitin exoskeleton scholars believe is formed from chitin fibrils, long chains of protein subunits, chitin is translucent, very flexible and resistant, in arthropods chitin is modified becoming hardened proteinaceous which develops much of the exoskeleton.
This Order Phacopida, Phacops trilobite segments have been engineered by evolution to interlock and provide armour with flexibility, under this chitin exoskeleton the arthropod defended its soft body parts now lost to the ravages of the fossil bed. In this type the tubercles seen on the carapace or exoskeleton have no spines,in other types spines evolved giving the invertebrate more defense perhaps? We do not know positively,some theorist suggest they could also be for a feel or sensory defense. Amazing and intriguing,we have so much to learn from these little bugs! This arthropod has three lobes longitudinally, these name it, from the Greek, tri-lobite,three lobes which run into the pygidium (tail), also the three parts of the exoskeleton which often separate in the fossil beds are the glabella (head), thorax and pygidium. These make up the complete carapace or exoskeleton, this is shed in the animal's lifetime and we find them enrolled which could possibly have been a defence posture or the shed carapace fossilised.