The Trilobite Book: A Visual Journey
By Riccardo Levi-Setti
University Of Chicago Press, 288pp | Buy on Amazon

Trilobites are some of the most iconic and interesting creatures to ever walk the face of the Earth. Emerging in the Cambrian and lasting until the Permian extinction, trilobites roamed the planetary oceans for over 270 million years. Their emergence was spectacular – by the time they were conserved in fossil record, they were already diversified and spread across most of the water bodies, with a whopping 17,000 known species spanning Paleozoic time. Trilobites had many life styles; some moved over the sea-bed as predators, scavengers or filter feeders and some swam, feeding on plankton. Today, trilobites are some of the world’s most common fossils, but that doesn’t make them any less spectacular – on the contrary, it only makes them more interesting. Every amateur paleontologist should know his trilobites, and this book is a must have for everybody interested in geology, paleontology, or who simply wants to see some cool trilobites.

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This is Riccardo Levi-Setti’s third work on trilobites. Way before I was born, in 1975, Riccardo Levi-Setti convinced the University of Chicago Press to publish his first book on trilobites – it was a visual, black and white journey through numerous species, with most pictures taken by the author himself. This book is also a visual journey, with 235 spectacular, colored pages.

However, the book has a different approach than previous ones, and to me, it can definitely be considered a separate work. The Trilobite Book is a personal journey; it’s not a technical book, it’s easy to understand for everybody – for those with 0 experience and knowledge of trilobites, to the hardcore paleontologist. It is not an exhaustive list, of course, but it has a very distinct personal flavor. The fossils presented are the ones which the author is most fond of. The stories are the ones the author himself discovers, and his love of trilobites shines through every different page. Mister Levi-Setti obviously not only knows, but also loves his trilobites, and this love transpires through the book. I found myself devouring page after page, and the photo comments were short and to the point.

The only thing I would change about the book is the size – when I finished reading it, I found myself wanting more pictures and more stories. So all in all, whether you’re just an amateur enthusiast or a hardcore scientist, I’d dare wage that you’ll thoroughly enjoy this book. It won’t rock your world, but it’s beautiful and to the point.