Monday, October 26, 2009

Little crawly creepies of the early Cambrian

I think I'll switch gears for a moment. One of the things I often do is create illustrations - either for my own research, or for things like museum exhibits. When I worked at the UW-Madison Geology Museum, I put together several drawings for our burgess shale materials:

Molaria is a rather unassuming arthropod.

The fancy trilobite, Ogogygopsis, which has more "g's" in its name than most animals. It's also a fairly demure (by trilobite standards) specimen.

Hyoliths are just strange. I find them all over the Upper Cambrian here in Wisconsin - although some of the cones might be conulariids - stay tuned.

One of the more flamboyant, but recognizable trilobite relatives is Marella.

Another relatively unassuming arthropod is Burgessia, but what's cool about this critter is that many of them leave behind a dark stain on the shale in the shape of their gill structures.

One thing that natural history reconstruction is good for is that it takes a 2-dimensional smear and "re-inflates" it for people to see. And many of these things are an inch or two long, so it's useful for those that can't get close to the display case.

Given the "outreach" potential of blogs, here are two other threads that may interest folks:
Young-Earthers and GSA
Little snails in the Midwest