Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Trilobite: Eyewitness to EvolutionTrilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution by Richard Fortey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution covers all aspects of trilobites, from the numerous subspecies to fossils and all points in between.

Confession time: I love fossil hunting and I've stooped so far as to buy a small trilobite fossil at a rock swap. I've found trilobites fascinating since I was a little fossil hunter back in the day so I was pretty stoked to read this.

I had no idea there were so many subspecies of trilobite and how widespread the species was. The fossil photos were pretty cool. This may have been a case of too much of a good thing. I love trilobites but not enough to make our relationship Facebook-official. Fortey's obsession with trilobites rivals Gusse Fink-Nottle's newt obsession. An entire chapter was devoted to how the trilobite's eyes worked.

Richard Fortey is a pretty witty writer, which makes the painstaking detail of some of the chapters much more palatable. His stories took the edge off of what could have been a much drier book. Still, I have to wonder how much of what he reveals is speculation, considering the trilobite has been extinct for millennia. On a side note, I don't see why there couldn't be a small relict population of trilobites on the ocean floor someplace. It worked for the coelocanth.

While I was tired of Trilobites near the end, I can't deny that it was a pretty enjoyable book. Three out of five stars.

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