Trilobite Phacops rana matrix
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Trilobite Phacops rana matrix measures 3 inches. Trilobite Phacops rana matrix is museum quality polyurethane cast. Made in USA. Devonian Ohio Medusa Quarry. Trilobites are very well-known, and possibly the second-most famous fossil group after the dinosaurs with some 15,000 known species.
Phacops rana (Eldredgeops rana) is a species of trilobite from the middle Devonian period. Their fossils are found chiefly in the northeastern United States, southwestern Ontario, and in Morocco.
Phacops rana or Eldredgeops rana can be recognized by its large eyes (which remind some observers of a frog’s eyes—the specific name rana is a reference to a common frog), its fairly large size (up to 6 inches long), and its habit of rolling up into a ball like a pill bug (“volvation”). In order to protect themselves from predators, Phacops rana would roll into a ball with its hard exoskeleton on the outside as protection.
Many other trilobites possessed the same ability, but Phacops rana nearly perfected it. The slightest amount of sediment would trigger their senses, and Phacops rana or Eldredgeops rana would be hidden in a tiny shelter made of its own body.
Although this safety feature often helped them to evade predators, occasionally it backfired and the trilobite would be buried under heavy sediment. Eldredgeops rana fossils can still be found in balled-up positions 400 million years later.
Phacops rana is found both in the northeastern U.S. and in Morocco; North America was attached to the African plate during the Devonian. Because of its abundance and popularity with collectors, Phacops rana or Eldredgeops rana was designated the Pennsylvania state fossil by the state’s General Assembly on December 5, 1988.
The most striking feature of the morphology of Phacops rana or Eldredgeops rana and its relatives is their eyes. These differed from the eyes of most trilobites in having comparatively few lenses spaced between deep sclera.
The lenses themselves were very rounded instead of largely flat. The eyes were mounted on turret-like structures which could swivel, providing the animal with an almost 360-degree field of view. This type of eye is known as the schizochroal eye.
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