Dr. Stephen Damiani, WI 1975, endocrinologist and amateur geologist, has donated  a collection of Trilobites that he collected over the years to the National Youth Science Camp. His intent is to contribute specimens each year to build a permanent collection that can be featured at the National Center for Youth Science Education, when it is completed.

Trilobites, which are an extinct family of arthropods, are found in the paleontological record from the Cambrian Period to the Permian Period and are noted for their biodiversity as well as longevity in the history of life forms on earth. Today’s relatives to the trilobites would include horse shoe crabs. “The study of these life forms is of more than of passing interest to paleobiologists, because of their remarkable evolutionary history,” Damiani said.

The majority of the specimens are Cambrian trilobites (over 500 million years old), from Nevada and Southern California and have been collected over the years that Damiani has lived in Southern California.  Calymene celebra (over 400 million years old—see photo) is a Silurian trilobite. This specimen was collected when Damiani was a teenager growing up in Milwaukee, WI, from the Niagaran dolomite. This trilobite lived in reef communities, not unlike those found today on temperate parts of the earth.

“The specimen given to NYSF is a complete Calymene and, as such, is also relatively rare. A year or two before I came to NYSC, I theorized and demonstrated dimorphism in this genus,” Damiani said. “My family and I continue to hunt for trilobites throughout the Southwestern United States. We never fail to be amazed at their unique beauty and are in awe of the long and complex history of life on earth. Over time, I have come to the realization that these distinct gifts from our past belong to all of us collectively, and as such, should be shared for our ongoing knowledge and enjoyment. I am thrilled to be able to give these pieces of history to the NYSC.”