Ordovician

Published on September 1st, 2012 | by David Marshall

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Episode 2: Isotelus rex

In June we got the opportunity to speak to Dave Rudkin, curator of arthropods at the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada. In our interview we covered his discovery of Isotelus rex, the world’s largest trilobite, and discussed arthropod gigantism.

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Tundra crossing

Crossing the tundra to the Isotelus rex locality was not easy going; the nearest road was a few kilometers away and shotguns had to be carried in case a polar bear was encountered.

Polar bear tracks

Polar bears had been in the area recently…

Mosquitoes on Rudkin

… but are not the only animals out for blood!

Isotelus rex was discovered on the shore of the Hudson Bay, close to the town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.

Hudson Bay

The Ordovician dolowackestone is assigned to the Late Ordovician Churchill River Group and is known to contain trace fossils. This location is only exposed at the lowest of tides.

The Isotelus rex specimen was discovered below the high tide line, partially covered

Although missing a piece of the pygidium, I.rex was clearly a record breaker at a massive 720mm

The specimen was finally excavated as the rising tides threatened to submerge it once again

But the fossil had to be broken to be excavated quickly and safely

The pieces had to be carried by hand over the beach, over the hills and over the tundra to the 4X4 a few kilometers away

Images courtesy of Dave Rudkin



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