The Trilobites Have Landed!

Posted by Nima On Tuesday, August 31, 2010 7 comments

It's been way too long, Paleo-fans. But I've finished my trilobite piece ;)

Now I'm not strictly a trilobite fan. I'm more into extinct land vertebrates, mainly dinosaurs and synapsids. Not that I don't like trilobites - they're downright amazing. I just don't like drawing them. All those tedious segments and spines... and then you have to figure out speculative antennas since they usually don't get preserved! But this was definitely good practice in case I draw them again soon. And I learned a lot about the different families of trilobites and their radically different shapes - this is a Devonian scene, and in that period, trilobites reached their apex of weird and wacky forms. The hardest part is finding interesting species from a single time and place - you really have to do your homework since trilobites had so many species come and go across hundreds of millions of years.

Devonian Trilobites are primarily found in the fossil beds of Oklahoma and Morocco, which were shallow areas in the Devonian and hosted huge numbers and variety of trilobites. I picked Morocco as the setting, but related species of trilobites were found in both areas. I knew it would be really easy to smooth out the water "texture" with digital tools but I wanted to keep things simple for this one (I may do a digitally enhanced version in the future). So here we have the final scene, unedited and uncut.

See if you can locate the exotic trilobites Dicranurus monstrosus, Dicranurus hamatus, Erbenochile Erbeni, Koneprussia sp., Droptops armatus, Paralejurus sp., Ceratarges sp., Scabriscutellum sp., Walliserops trifurcatus, the gigantic Terataspis grandis, and of course the worldwide favorite, Phacops!

The two giant fish in the background are Titanichthys, a far less vicious (though equally large) cousin of Dunkleosteus. You also have a couple of primitive sharks here, and some ammonites and orthocones way back there.
P.S.                    <{((((:)     <= Unicode Trilobite.
Lol, I know it's tacky... I just had to attempt that!


Ian said...

That's pretty awesome. Imagine what it would be like to see something like that in person!

Anonymous said...

In the Name of God
my very nice friend, Dear Nima Sassani!

you know my brother told me he love your landscape about Trilobites.

I try to ask a specialist, Sam Gon III about your very beautiful Trilobites as guideline.

What is your opinion about his opinion?

There is opinion of Sam Gon III for you:

The picture is fun, but I would not call it accurate. It mixes devonian trilobites from all over the world, for example, and has them all in one habitat, when some were deep, some were shallow, some were on reefs, etc.

most trilobites were thought to be scavenger/predators, digging around for edible debris or small invertebrates to catch and eat.

aloha, Sam
Best Regards, Amin Khaleghparast(from IRAN)

Nima said...

@ Ian: sorry for the delay; Thanks for the comments. Yes it would indeed be very amazing to see these trilobites. They are a little bit like some arthropods that live today, but a LOT more amazing.

@ Amin: thanks for the input. Yes I am familiar with Sam Gon's ideas as I have real your emails. I have this to say: this piece was somewhat rushed due to other projects, so I didn't have much time to research which trilobites lived at which depths or in what sort of undersea environment, that's the only real flaw. I simply looked up Moroccan Devonian trilobites, and I made sure all the dates lined up. Some of these are similar to North American species, others lived in both areas. But this is certainly not an amalgamation of trilobites from "all over the world". That I think is not an accurate characterization of this work.

Goniagnostus said...

Terataspis is not reported from Morocco, for example. Letʻs say "different parts of the world, then, but certainly not all from Morocco.
Sam Gon III
A Guide to the Orders of Trilobites

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