Trilobite Eggs In New York Reveal Their Sexual Organs Were In Their Head

Posted: Feb 24 2017, 10:40am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Trilobite Eggs in New York Reveal Their Sexual Organs Were in Their Head
Pyritized trilobite specimens (Triarthrus eatoni) are from the Ordovician Whetstone Gulf Formation (Lorraine Group), upstate New York (USA). Credit: The authors and Copyright The Geological Society of America
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Scientists have revealed that ancient trilobites had genitalia in their cranial region. This explains how they had sex in the first place.

Eggs of ancient animals known as trilobites show that these creatures had sex via organs located in their heads. They existed 520 million years ago and had tough outer shells which protected them from their predators.

One of the oldest of arthropods, trilobites vanished towards the end of the Permian Era. This was 250 million years ago. This is the first time that the eggs or sex organs of trilobites have been preserved long enough to reach us moderns. 

The eggs were situated towards the hind brain region. This is the same area from which female horseshoe crabs release eggs which have not been fertilized. The source of these eggs is an ovarian system in this locus of the body of the creature.

Trilobites are for all purposes extinct. There are, as the fossil record shows, some 20,000 varieties of trilobites. They show a remarkable and wide range of diversity. The tiniest are a millimeter in length while the biggest are a foot to two feet in length. 

The great death of these species of ancient creatures took place 252 million years ago on the timeline. This extinction was one of five great massive wipe-outs that took place in geological (pre)history.

It is a hard fact to swallow for us humans but 97% of species that once lived on our planet have disappeared and only left fossils behind them.

The eggs of the trilobites are shaped like spheres and measure 200 micrometers in their dimensions. These trilobites released eggs and sperm from pores in the back of their heads.  

The trilobites were unearthed from the New York region. Their remains had been substituted with pyrite. This is a tough iron-like material. It is the most common material that composes the fossils found in the earth’s subterranean depths.

It tends to allow the external features of the extinct creatures to keep their shape and texture. Trilobites were one of the most intriguing creatures to exist in prehistoric times. Their shapes were particularly interesting since they resembled horseshoe crabs.

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