0507: Phacops rana

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This little guy is an impression of the head and eyes of a species of trilobite, called Phacops rana, that lived during the middle Devonian period (approximately 387 million years ago). Phacops rana was a critical element in the research of Dr. Niles Eldredge that led to the formulation of the theory of “Punctuated Equilibrium” in a landmark paper he published with Stephen Jay Gould in 1972. For the past two weeks it has figured into much conversation I have been able to share in, although “listen in” might be more appropriate.

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I have had the honor and pleasure of spending time with Niles and my dear friend Dr. Stefano Dominici from the University of Florence and the Florence Natural History Museum. Working together on a project took us to a small quarry in the Hamilton Group in central New York where Niles did early research. It was no surprise then that Niles found the pick of the day – the phacops shown above – without hardly looking! (The Master showed us how!!)

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He is also the proud owner of an incredible collection of cornets, some of which appeared last week. more of which I bring you today – interspersed with the other finds from our trip to the quarry.

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The conversations ranged from evolution to jazz, Darwin to big bands, good food and wine…and, of course, phacops rana. I look forward to our next encounter.

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Thanks for the visit.

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