About 450 million years ago, a crustacean gouged out the eye of a trilobite in a fierce battle. Scientists have found traces of this battle in the fossils of an ancient species. The trilobite not only survived after meeting the predator, but also grew a new eye.
Scientists have found fossilized remains of a trilobite on the territory of modern Czech Republic, which survived after a fight with a crustacean 450 million years ago.
Today, only the head remains of the ancient marine arthropod. Scientists believe that a huge marine crustacean (an extinct arthropod of the order Eurypterida) caused scratches on its carapace and head shield. The predator also stripped the trilobite of one eye. The crustaceans lived in the marine environment at the same time as the trilobites. They were relatives of modern swordtails, although outwardly they look more like scorpions and crayfish, and also ate trilobites.
As the authors of the study note, fossils of trilobites that survived a head injury (especially such a serious one) are extremely rare. However, a specific representative of the species Dalmanitina socialis not only survived, but also grew a new eye to replace the lost one. Therefore, this fossil is of particular scientific interest.
Despite the fact that the newly grown trilobite eye was displaced and its structure was imperfect, it performed excellent visual function, scientists found. They published their findings in the scientific journal International Journal of Paleopathology.