Trilobites are an extinct group of marine arthropods (segmented invertebrates with hard external skeleton and jointed limbs) that are amongst the oldest shelled invertebrates known.
They first appear as fossils in rocks of Early Cambrian age (about 540 million years old). Until the middle part of the Palaeozoic Era (about 380 million years ago) they were one of the dominant forms of life in the oceans, but they subsequently declined in abundance and diversity, and finally became extinct at the end of the Permian Period (about 250 million years ago).
Trilobite research at Museum Victoria is carried out by Dr David Holloway. He is documenting Silurian and Early Devonian trilobite faunas of eastern Australia (northern Queensland, central western New South Wales, eastern Victoria, south-western Tasmania) and revising various trilobite groups on a world-wide scale (Dalmanitidae, Phacopidae, Pterygometopidae, Illaenina, Lichida). Some of this work is being carried out in collaboration with scientists from other institutions.
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