The Silurian Period begins at the start of a time of global warming, when vast melting ice sheets caused sea levels across the globe to rise and flood previous areas of land creating huge areas of shallow shelf seas. The Black Country lay on the edge of a landmass called Avalonia in the warm seas near the equator.
Millions of shelly sea creatures swarmed on the seabed and swam in the water above.
They were surrounded by shoals of shelly sands on which whole ‘meadows’ of stalked crinoids (sea-lilies) gently waved in the ocean currents. Trilobites crawled, burrowed and swam, shellfish burrowed in the mud or attached themselves to the reefs and the seawater was filled with tiny plankton and soft bodied creatures that the corals fed on. Shoals of squid hunted in these waters and fearsome sea scorpions prowled the reefs in search of prey.
All of these creatures lived and died and their fallen shells built up in layers on the seabed that would eventually become the limestone that was mined from the hills and valleys around us.
The cases in this gallery contain many beautiful examples of the fossil evidence that has been discovered in these limestone layers over the past 170 years.
Trilobites - 'Dudley Bug'
A trilobite is a fossil sea creature similar to a modern day horseshoe crab.
Both the trilobite and the horseshoe crab belong to a group of animals called Arthropods (Arthro meaning jointed and pod or podium meaning leg, i.e. jointed-legged animals).
Trilobites get their name from the typical shape and form of their fossilised hard outer shell which is divided into three raised arch-like ridges that run lengthways along the body from nose to tail.
Discover unique examples of our infamous Trilobite in this gallery. Such rare and perfect fossils have made 'The Dudley Bug' famous throughout the World.