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Trilobites were a diverse group of extinct marine arthropods that lived from the Cambrian to the Permian period, approximately 521 to 252 million years ago. They were one of the most successful and widespread groups of early animals, with over 20,000 known species. Trilobites had a hard, calcareous exoskeleton divided into three lobes (hence the name “trilobite”) and a distinctive segmented body. They ranged in size from a few millimeters to over 70 centimeters long and occupied a variety of marine environments, from shallow seas to deep oceans. Trilobites were among the first animals to develop complex eyes and are considered important index fossils for dating rock layers. Their fossils are found worldwide and are prized by collectors and paleontologists for their diversity, abundance, and scientific value in understanding ancient marine ecosystems.

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