Although I’m somewhat of a veteran plush reviewer most of my plush reviews so far have been toys in the Paleozoic Pals line. Those reviews include two trilobites and so I’m excited to review yet another trilobite but this time from a company that has not yet been covered on the DTB, Giant Microbes. Giant Microbes is a unique company that produces plush toys of everything from blood, cancer, and sperm cells, to bed bugs, water bears, and mosquitoes, to gonorrhea, kidney stones, and even COVID-19. And they’re all adorable, despite often depicting terrible diseases, parasites, and other medical conditions that make life difficult for us “higher life forms”. They’ve also produced a few prehistoric critters; there is this trilobite, as well as a set of Cambrian invertebrates in their Dino Creatures Box; another trilobite, Wiwaxia, Opabinia, and Merrella.
The Giant Microbes trilobite specifically represents Asaphiscus wheeleri. This species grew to about 3” and lived during the Cambrian. It is well represented by fossils out of the Wheeler Formation where it is found. The formation is also where the species gets its name from.
This trilobite is aesthetically pleasing with a vibrant two toned purple coloration, black legs around the body, and red eyes, antennae and cerci. It measures about 6” in length and is admittedly endearing. I found mine at the Delaware Museum of Natural History and the whole family fell in love with it, it was actually my wife and not my 5 year old that decided it had to come home. This plush comes across as a high quality item with sturdy seams that should hold together without issue.
Although trilobites have compound eyes, this toy has a vertebrate eye structure with a pupil and iris. This was probably a conscious design choice to make the toy more appealing. Ulcers and typhoid fever don’t actually have eyes either but cute eyes are the norm for this company. It makes the toy more visually appealing than its Paleozoic Pals counterparts but certainly less accurate. But what I do like about this toy vs. those other trilobites is that it recreates a living animal instead of just the fossil itself. This toy has legs, antennae, and cerci that would have been present in life but are not always preserved in fossils. These features are not included on the Paleozoic Pals trilobites.
Comparing the toy directly to Asaphiscus fossils there are some other anatomical issues as well. Notably, the toy seems to lack a “tail” or pygidium. It does have the correct number of nine bands that would be present on the thorax however; they just extend all the way down the body. This toy also has elongated genal spines coming off the “head” or cephalon whereas actual Asaphiscus fossils do not show this. It’s hard to take the company to task on any of this because prehistoric invertebrates is not where they excel, their primary focus is on diseases, ailments, and medical conditions and they dominate in that department.
Overall it is hard to deny the appeal of this plush and although I personally find the eyes somewhat irritating (it just doesn’t look right!) I still highly recommend it. We need more trilobites and I would love to see Giant Microbes produce some more, especially of the fancier genera that would better fit their design aesthetic. The Giant Microbes trilobite is widely available and can be purchased directly from their web site or on retail sites like Amazon.
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