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Is this the most successful animal ever? - Nigel Hughes


1,621 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

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Prevailing for around 270 million years and encompassing more than 20,000 distinct species, trilobites are some of the most successful lifeforms in Earth’s history. When they sprung into existence, they were among the most diverse and sophisticated organisms on the planet and so had a unique perspective on the ancient world. Nigel Hughes details the rise and fall of these hardy creatures.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Explore the 20,000 distinct species of trilobites and their fossils, or learn more about trilobite morphologyanatomyecologybehaviorreproduction, and development, and how they relate to trilobite originsevolution, and classification.

Take a virtual trilobites tour with the American Museum of Natural History’s paleontologists Associate Curator Melanie Hopkins and PhD student Ernesto Vargas-Parra that includes a look inside the museum’s extensive trilobite collection, and a Q&A about field research, collections, and more.

Watch this short documentary about the natural history of trilobites, the pioneers of the Paleozoic era. 

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Nigel Hughes
  • Director Zsuzsanna Kreif, The Animation Workshop
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Storyboard Artist Zsuzsanna Kreif
  • Animator Zsuzsanna Kreif
  • Compositor Zsuzsanna Kreif
  • Art Director Zsuzsanna Kreif
  • Composer Stephen LaRosa
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Cella Wright
  • Production Coordinator Abdallah Ewis
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-Checker Jennifer Nam

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