Trilobites were some of the most successful and versatile organisms ever to exist. Among the earliest forms of complex animal life, these hard-shelled marine invertebrates inhabited the primal seas of the Paleozoic Era. Their march through evolutionary time began in the Lower Cambrian, some 521 million years ago, and lasted until their demise at the end of the Permian, more than 250 million years later. During this vast stretch of planetary history, these adaptable animals filled virtually every available undersea niche, evolving into more than 25,000 scientifically recognized species.
In Travels with Trilobites, Andy Secher invites readers to come along in search of the fossilized remains of these ancient arthropods. He explores breathtaking palaeontological hot spots around the world – including Alnif, Morocco, on the edge of the Sahara Desert; the Sakha Republic, deep in the Siberian wilderness; and Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia – and offers a behind-the-scenes look at museums, fossil shows, and life on the collectors' circuit. The book features hundreds of photographs of unique specimens drawn from Secher's private collection, showcasing stunning fossil finds that highlight the diversity, complexity, and beauty of trilobites. Entertaining and informative, Travels with Trilobites combines key scientific information about these captivating creatures with wry, colourful observations and inside stories from one of the world's most prolific collectors.
Andy Secher is a field associate in palaeontology at the American Museum of Natural History and coeditor of the museum’s trilobite website. His private collection comprises more than 4,000 trilobite fossils. He was for many years the editor of the rock-and-roll magazine Hit Parader.
"Andy Secher's Travels with Trilobites chronicles one of Earth's earliest and most important groups of animals, the trilobites, and the people obsessed with their fossilized remains. The thousands of known trilobite species tell a harrowing tale of a group trying to outrun extinction across vast chunks of deep time. Secher combines stunning photography and his distinctive style into a fascinating look behind the curtain of a little known cultural phenomenon.
– Markus J. Martin, trilobite researcher
"Andy Secher's passionate paean to his beloved trilobites is a visually stunning voyage of discovery – a fossil feast for the eyes and fodder for the inquiring mind! Like the best of journeys, this one wanders in leisurely fashion, taking in the spectacular sights and leading us down fascinating narrative side roads to reveal the secrets of these long-vanished denizens of ancient seas. Take the trip [...] and be prepared to join the ranks of those of us already under the spell of trilobite-o-philia!"
– Dave Rudkin, assistant curator of invertebrate paleontology (retired), Royal Ontario Museum
"One of the world's foremost trilobite collectors shares not only the tales of these gorgeous and stunningly diverse animals but also the eye-opening inside stories of how and where their fossils have been found, prepared, collected (both publicly and privately), bought, sold, and even faked. Plentiful photographs capture the dazzling array of trilobite forms, while Secher's warm writing reveals the reasons, from scholarly to aesthetic, why so many of us have fallen in love with these lost creatures. Prepare to be swept up in his obsession."
– D. Allan Drummond, paleoartist and associate professor, University of Chicago
"Natural history nuts will gain a new appreciation for these prehistoric creatures thanks to this awe-inspiring survey."
– Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This book [is] a valuable resource for both scientists and collectors."
– Trilobite Tales, Western Interior Paleontological Society
"[Travels with Trilobites: Adventures in the Paleozoic] showcases Secher's passion for paleontology in this account of trilobites – one of the most evolutionarily successful species to have lived on Earth."
– Publishers Weekly
"This is a very well written, illustrated, and researched book. It is easy enough for all to understand but also detailed enough for those who already have an interest in trilobites."
– Evilcyclist's Bookshelf
"Secher provides an impressive tour of locations around the world where one can find the fossilized remains of these creatures, delves into what scientists know about trilobite biology – including molting, reproduction, locomotion, and vision – illustrating his musings with outstanding photographs from his personal collection of over 4,000 fossils."
– Trilobite Tales, R. Gary Raham
"Travels with Trilobites would make a perfect coffee table book. [...] Andy Secher's book is a love letter to trilobites. Secher showcases the treasures of his own collection, and the photographs are truly impressive. Secher clearly loves trilobites in all their sizes and forms. His admiration for these unique, long-gone creatures, as well as his collecting zeal, are really contagious. So, if Secher's true purpose was to unleash a growing horde of trilobite lovers upon the world, he actually has a pretty good chance of succeeding. Count me in!"
– Re-Enchantment of the World