Growing up, I collected and purchased trilobite fossils for my own personal collection, to learn about and understand prehistoric life. They were to me, and still are, a fascinating group of fossils to examine and wonder about how the myriad of different forms evolved. Yet, with so many different types known, it is surprising that there has never been a single, large and well-illustrated book that documents and identifies the many species from across the globe.
Enter Trilobites of the World: An atlas of 1000 photographs. The brief introduction is just enough for those who want to gain a grasp of the anatomy, behaviour and reproduction of these ancient animals, without getting bogged down in overly scientific terminology. However, most of the volume constitutes the photographic atlas, in which more than 700 species are photo-documented by almost 1,000 close-up colour photographs. All are of a decent size, with some of the more spectacular examples filling an entire page. For me, as a palaeontologist, the book excels in not only discussing some of the major trilobite localities around the world (with pictures of specimens found there), but by having each species named along with the age, formation, specific locality and a brief explanation of the fossil featured. Such key information is vital for fossil hunters, enthusiasts and academics looking to identify specimens. In fact, each page of the ‘atlas’ section has a country tab in the bottom corner, making it easy to flip through and locate a region of interest.
The book concludes with a reference section, an appendix of species included and a taxonomic index. Pete Lawrence has almost 50 years of experience in collecting and identifying trilobites and Sinclair Stammers, a professional scientific photographer, has also had a lifelong passion for prehistoric life. Their combined skills have resulted in a beautifully illustrated and well-produced volume that is a must for anybody with an interest in trilobites or indeed those who wish to learn more about one of the most intriguing groups of extinct invertebrate fossils. And the magnificent photographs will appeal to general fossil enthusiasts of all ages.
Trilobites of the World: An atlas of 1000 photographs, by Pete Lawrance and Sinclair Stammers, Siri Scientific Press, Manchester (2014). 416 pp., softback, ISBN: 978-0-9574530-3-6.