Trilobites invade East Texas! - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Trilobites invade East Texas!


Many of us own, or at least appreciate, a good antique. But a few East Texans like things a couple hundred million years older than that.

We found an East Texan who collects and sells trilobites.

They hung in there for 270 million years, but that was 250 million years ago, when they became extinct. Lots of things have changed since then, including the existence of living trilobites.

But that hasn't stopped Donald Campbell from looking for them, and he found a place to find them: Black Cat Mountain, in south central Oklahoma.

"They are hard to find. Where we collect these there's 120 vertical feet of limestone formation and only about six feet of individual layers produce these trilobites," said Donald.

"They are extinct. They don't occur anymore, but they are very similar to the little roly-poly pill bugs in your flowerbed," Donald revealed.

Donald works along side of Keith Harmon, who loves the sound of a good crack. Keith sells geodes and other rocks and minerals, like at the East Texas Geological Society Expo, but Donald prefers stuff that was once alive, and is glad they aren't anymore.

"I'd hate to step on one of these in the dark. You definitely don't want to step on this one barefooted." Donald pointed out.

Trilobites were deep sea scavengers; a kind of underwater cockroach. They were some of the earliest arthropods like scorpions or crabs.

"Tri-lobed: That's where the name came from," Donald said.

They have other fossils, too.

"They're like fishing flies; fossilized fishing flies, and we use them to catch the fossilized fish," Donald said pointing at the stone fish and flies.

"That completely makes sense. What kind of pole do you use?" I asked him.

"We don't use a pole. We use a hammer. It's a fossil joke," Donald said.

Well, at least Donald's jokes didn't leave me flat.

Donald Campbell and Keith Harmon are at the East Texas Gem and Mineral Show every January.  If you can't wait that long, you can find them every first Monday of the month at the Discovery Science Place for the monthly East Texas Gem and Mineral Society meeting at 6:45 PM.

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