Cambrian Trilobites of Morocco


This is about a time long, long ago: an era which is forgotten by most, but found in my meditation from time to time when I look at the odd creatures that lived back then.  This meditation has been on a collection of mostly trilobites that spans the time from the Cambrian to the Ordovician, approximately 540 million years ago to 440 million years ago.  It is a strange fact, that while the Dinosaurs which many of us view as fantastic animals of long ago walked the land, the trilobites of the Cambrian were safely encased in stone, fossilized underneath their feet.  That is how impossibly long ago these creatures lived.  It is hard to even grasp the enormity of the time span that this represents.

This site focuses on identifying trilobites from Morocco from the Cambrian (540 to 495 MYA) time period for the serious fossil collector so it is deliberately kept simple and easy to use as a guidebook. This is not a scientific treatise or even a systematic description of the trilobites.  An attempt will be made to translate the specialized scientific terminology into understandable English.  This is not always possible, but I will allow "the photos to do the talking" as much as possible with some commentary on the salient features of a particular trilobite genus/species that differentiates it from another similar one.  From time to time genus and species assignments do change,  and I will not always place the specimen in the correct genus or species despite sincere effort.  I will use scientific journals and other authoritative sources for identification whenever possible.  Of course I take full responsibility for any errors of omission and or interpretation.

This site is for the fossil collectors who are puzzled by the identity of a particular Moroccan Cambrian trilobite.  It is mobile app friendly so the photos can be accessed at fossil shows to id problematic or unknown trilobites using mobile devices. Later I may add an Ordovician trilobite album. I will also add different trilobites from time to time.  Please enjoy and I hope you find this site useful.  Please allow for the photos to load initially.

                                                                                    

Acadoparadoxides briareus                                                                      

Acadoparadoxides ovatopyge

Acadoparadoxides levisetti

Cambropallas telesto

Hamatolenus (Hamatolenus) maroccanus

Hamatolenus (Hamatolenus) vincenti

Hamatolenus (Myopsolenus) magnus

Hamatolenus (Myopsolenus) magnus (2)

Hamatolenus new species

Collyrolenus staminops 

Myopsolenus cf. staminops 

Kingaspis

Kingaspoides

Kymataspis arenosa

Myopsolenites boutiouti

Ourikaia cf. calva

Ornamentaspis c.f. usitata

Ornamentaspis triangularis

New undescribed Protolenines

New undescribed Protolenus with Kingaspoides c.f. neglectus trilobites

Latoucheia (Pseudolenus) ourikaensis

Protolenus densigranulatus

Protolenus (Hupeolenus) hupei

Protolenus cf paradoxoides

Skreiaspis spinosa

Termierella (Brevitermierella)

Paratermierella

Termierella (Termierella) 

 

The ocean off West Gondwana, the largest land mass on the map (far right) is where the habitat for the trilobites identified on this website lived.  West Gondwana includes what becomes present day Morocco, the Iberian peninsula, and the African continent.  It is southeast of the island continents Baltica (which becomes part of Europe) and the Ural continent.  Northwest of the Ural continent lies another island continent that becomes Siberia (center right of map).  West of Siberia is Laurentia which becomes North America.  The Panthalassic Ocean lies west and north of Laurentia.  Avalonia (where the Taconic arc is closest to) becomes Britain and New England.  The breakup of East Gondwana begins in the Middle Cambrian and continues on into the Late Cambrian and through the Ordovician.  The map is from the Humboldt State University's Natural History Museum site and attributed to Dr. Ron Blakey of Northern Arizona University.  The red lines indicate spreading center ridges where continental plates move apart from each other.  The blue lines represent subduction zones where plates move towards each other causing earthquakes, folding of the earth's crust to create mountains, and oceanic trenches where the crust slides underneath another continental crust.


All photos are from my own personal collection unless otherwise attributed.  I am grateful to "dicrano" (Jim Cook) of the Yahoo trilobites2 club who showed the ropes to a green horn back in 2002, and to Gerald Kloc who through his many rare trilobite finds showed me to never overlook the smallest details at the MAPS (Mid-American Paleontological Society) shows. I am indebted to Gerd Geyer whose specialty is in the study of the Moroccan Cambrian geology, stratiagraphy and trilobites of the family Ellipsocephalidae.  His work in German (with some diagnoses in English) Die marokkanischen Ellipsocephalidae (Trilobita: Redlichiida: Beringeria heft 3 1990) remains the standard work on the subject.  Also the Treatise of Invertebrate Paleontology, Part O, Trilobitomorpha (University of Kansas, 1959) is still the reference I always check for invaluable information because it includes more trilobite genera than any other work extant. Any comments, suggestions or questions please direct them to: kenjiro@moroccan-trilobites.net.

Other works mentioned on the website are as follows:

Gerd Geyer and Tony Vincent. The Paradoxides puzzle resolved: the appearance of the oldest paradoxidines and its bearing on the Cambrian Series 3 lower boundary (Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag:2014) pgs.1-60.
Riccardo Levi-Setti, The Trilobite Book  (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2014).

Kenjiro Hakomori 2009.5.10; last updated 2020.5.20.