Trilobites, meaning ‘three lobes’ are extinct marine arthropods that first appeared in the early Cambrian period - 520 million years ago and died out during the Permian period – 252 million years. They swam in open seas, reefs and others lived in mud. Trilobites are found worldwide and their size ranges from 70cm to less than a millimetre. Over 20,000 different species have been identified. Trilobite bodies are made up of three parts, a head, many with complex eyes and a pair of antennae and a thorax and tail, both segmented. It is believed that trilobites ate aquatic worms and possibly plankton and algae. Some are smooth and rounded whilst others had defensive spines. Some trilobites have been found curled up into balls, probably a defensive position. During their life span, a trilobite would out-grow its shell many times and these discarded husks were often fossilized too.
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