Trilobite (Isotelus maximus) (Paleozoic Pals)

4.7 (7 votes)

The Paleozoic Pals line of plush Paleozoic fauna has really taken off over the last five years, releasing two plush toys a year since they began in 2015. It was my hope that I would be able to keep up with them through these reviews but having moved away from the Museum of the Earth where they’re sold I’ve fallen a bit behind. Recently I was able to make a trip back to my home state of New York and visit this small museum located just outside the town of Ithaca. Once there I was blown away by the sheer quantity of these plushes that seem to have taken over the museum gift shop. Being on a budget I decided to pick up just one plush that I (I mean, my daughter) didn’t already have, the Isotelus maximus trilobite, to compliment the Geenops boothi trilobite, one of the first of the Paleozoic Pals.  

The Isotelus genus of the Asaphida order lived during the middle and upper Ordovician period and contains the largest known complete trilobite fossil, Isotelus rex, measuring 28” in length. The species represented by this plush is I. maximus which happens to be the state fossil of Ohio. This was a large species too with some individuals measuring 15” in length. This plush Isotelus pairs well with the previously released G. boothi trilobite of the Phacopida order, which is anatomically quite different from its counterpart.

Trilobites have three distinct body segments; the cephalon (head), thorax, and pygidium (tail). Starting at the cephalon of the toy we see the eyes and facial sutures stitched onto the plush. The genial spines coming off the cephalon are less than half the length of the thorax but in some real specimens they’re longer than the thorax. The thorax consists of 8 segments stitched onto the plush, with the middle lobe raised higher than the outer lobes. The pygidium is about the same size as the cephalon and there are no spines around the thorax or pygidium. All in all this is an accurate representation of I. maximus.

This plush measures 9” in length, about the same size as its Greenops companion but they are not in scale with each other, G. boothi only reached 1-1.5” in length. That’s not really an issue and in fact it’s nice to see these two trilobites side-by-side to compare and contrast. Both trilobites made thus far are among the best of the Paleozoic Pals line and hopefully in the future we’ll get a few more trilobites as well. This trilobite as well as all the Paleozoic Pals can be ordered online directly from the PRI (Paleontological Research Institute) web site.  

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