Last month, researchers from the El Instituto de Geología Económica in Madrid uncovered the remarkably complete fossils of numerous giant clustered trilobites in a rock quarry in northern Portugal. The largest trilobites found to date, one stretching to almost 90 centimetres in length, this thousand-strong group appears to have expired en masse when the stagnant pool they called home became irrevocability oxygen-deficient some 465 million years ago.
Of particular interest to Dr Juan Carlos Gutiérrez-Marco and his team were a group of fossils showing twenty-odd dutifully-organised monotaxic individuals. In a paper published in the May edition of Geology, Gutiérrez-Marco et al suggest that the distinct positioning of these curious marine arthropods was due to an urge to reproduce prompted by a session of epibenthic mass molting, “The hormones that instigate molting are related to those that induce sexual reproduction,” said Garcia-Bellido.
Now this is all very well, but it’s like I always say, Trilobites, if you insist on doing something like this in a public space, it’s going to end up on the Internet. And don’t think your parents aren’t going to see this just because they don’t know what Facebook is. Give it a few weeks and they too will be copied in on an all-staff email with the title, “LOL: What a Way to Die!” and once everyone recognises you, your dads won’t be able to go to the lunchroom without some greasy sales rep attempting to give them an unwelcome high five.
And too bad you can’t even score a record deal out of this either, because I don’t know what it was like back in Palaeozoic Era, but here in the twenty-first century, no one’s buying what you’re selling. Bet you don’t think exhibitionistic group sex in the vicinity of sporadic anoxic fluctuations is such a great idea now, do you, Trilobites? Sickos.
Original paper here.