Tuesday, December 18, 2007
For some, the trilobite has a special significance that transcends scientific meaning; the trilobite has become part of their identity. This phenomena can manifest in a variety of intensities and modalities. It could be a trilobite tattoo that signifies much more than a passing interest in paleontology. It could also be said that the desire to transform the shells of modern arthropods into trilobite effigies means that for some, simply learning about trilobites is not enough. Clearly there are those of us that take their trilobite obsession to new levels.
Is there a single attribute of trilobites that is responsible for the generation of such compulsions? Perhaps not. It could be that the combination of characteristics such as incredible diversity, an almost unmatched endurabilty, and intense beauty stirs our thoughts and hearts, allowing humans to exercise and enjoy their greatest gift, creativity.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Artist Josh Frankel has created a beautiful comic. The subject is an informed speculation about the perils of a trilobite's daily life. Josh knows about"...the obsession with trilobites that so many of us have." He clearly wants to see more than fossils, and has worked hard to bring a bygone epoch to life.
Without words, he is able to take us back to the Cambrian oceans for a glimpse of the lives of some astonishingly alien looking creatures. Josh's speculations about these animals' behavior are purely imaginative, but are based on our understanding of fossil evidence and the habits of similarly structured, existing arthropods. These ancient animals' interactions cause the cascading events that propel the story.
These creatures lived in a world where the oceans teamed with life, but the continents were devoid of plants or animals. All of the action of this time took place in the thriving seas. Josh ran his ideas by Sam Gon III to test the plausibility of his hypotheses about the vanished world of the Cambrian ocean. His exploration of these fascinating ideas is certain to inspire readers. I'm sure that anyone with even a passing curiosity about trilobites and their contemporaries will savor every page of this gorgeous book; I know I did. Thanks Josh!