This is a exquisitely detailed specimen of the trilobite Kettneraspis williamsi from the famous Black Cat Mountain locality in Oklahoma. It was masterfully prepared by Bob Carroll. It's caramel colored shell and elegant spines contrast well against the creme colored matrix. The eye stalks and small occipital spine are preserved, features often missing in lesser quality specimens.
Black Cat Mountain produces a limited number of arguably the most beautiful trilobites in the United States each year. Each specimen is meticulously prepared under microscope using airscribes and air abrasives.
Trilobites were a very diverse group of extinct marine arthropods. They first appeared in the fossil record in the Early Cambrian (521 million years ago) and went extinct during the Permian mass extinction (250 million years ago). They were one of the most successful of the early animals on our planet with over 25k described species, filling nearly every evolutionary niche. Due in large part to a hard exoskeleton (shell), they left a excellent fossil record.