We finally found out what trilobites that lived more than 500 million years ago ate

Trilobites lived in the Paleozoic era, approximately 540 million to 252 million years ago, and were extremely abundant, with over 20,000 known species. However, until now it has not been revealed what trilobites eat. A new research team led by paleontologist Petr Kraft of Charles University has reported on the diet of trilobites.

Uniquely preserved gut contents illuminate trilobite palaeophysiology | Nature

We finally know for sure what a trilobite ate | Ars Technica


The trilobite fossil analyzed this time was discovered in the Middle Ordovician strata, approximately 465 million years ago, in the Prague Basin of the Czech Republic. According to the research team, the trilobite fossil discovered this time is a type of trilobite called ``Bohemolichas incola,'' and its body length was about 5 cm.

The research team elaborately captured this trilobite fossil and attempted to image the inside of the fossil using

a synchrotron , a type of circular accelerator.

Analysis revealed that the trilobite's digestive tract, which runs through its center, is packed with fragments of the shells of marine organisms such as

ostracods , hyolites , bivalves like clams and mussels, and stylophorans . Did.

The research team reported, ``The newly discovered Bohemolichas incola also seems to have been a scavenger , eating dead organisms in the water.'' According to the research team, this trilobite ate dead and living animals, chewing up animals that could be easily crushed with its own teeth, and swallowing small animals whole. It has also been pointed out that Bohemolichas incola, which eats everything, may have played a role as an underwater scavenger.

Melanie Hopkins, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History, said: ``Scientists have long debated whether trilobites are predators that prey on living animals or scavengers that feed on animal remains.'' 'The research team's findings provide potential evidence that trilobites are scavengers.'

It has also been reported that dead Bohemolichas incola became food for other scavengers. According to the research team, the Bohemolichas incola discovered this time had evidence that its soft tissue had been eaten by another scavenger. On the other hand, this scavenger avoids the digestive tract of Bohemolichas incola, and the research team says, ``Enzymes remain active in the digestive tract of Bohemolichas incola even after death, which may be harmful to other organisms. There is a gender,” he said.

The characteristic that an organism's digestive tract becomes harmful to other scavengers is also a characteristic that can be seen in arthropods such as crustaceans, horseshoe crabs, and sea spiders that still live today, and the research team said, ``It is a characteristic that 'It could be a feature that occurred at a very early stage.'

in Science,   Creature, Posted by log1r_ut