Trilobite tummies were more complex than previously believed, new fossils reveal.
The fossils, which hail from China, preserve the guts of trilobites in long, iron-rich strips. Trilobite fossils are a dime a dozen — sort of like cockroaches of the sea in that respect. They were abundant for nearly 300 million years before they went extinct about 252 million years ago — but trilobite fossils that reveal internal organs are rare, according to a new study on the fossils published Sept. 21 in the journal PLOS ONE.
The fossils show that early trilobites had crops, or stomach-like pouches that were once thought to have evolved only later in the trilobite lineage. One trilobite species even boasted a crop along with more simplified digestive glands, suggesting that the evolution of the trilobite digestive system was complicated, the researchers found.
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