Mildura Weekly : Friday August 22 Vol 8 No 42
08 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014 IT takes some time to get your head around exactly what you are looking at – even after you’ve been told that it is the fossilised remains of a creature that lived in Earth’s early oceans about 400 million years ago. “It’s a beauty isn’t it?” Woodsie’s Rock Shop founder Doug Woods asks. Yes, it is...and 400 million years is a long time ago! The recently procured trilobite fos- sil will take pride of place amongst the extensive fossil collection in Woodsie’s ‘cave.’ The cave is the Woods family’s ‘pool room’ for those familiar with the term from the iconic Aussie movie ‘The Castle.’ It is where the ‘good stuff’ is kept, and is a highlight of any visit to one of our region’s best-loved, and most enduring family businesses and tourist attractions. The Woods family – Doug, his wife Betty, and their three adult chil- dren Michael, Chris and Cheryl – are an Australian lapidary institution, and keen collectors of interesting rocks, minerals, gems, fossils and art made from these materials. Their ‘cave’ now houses exhibits from around the world, collected over the past five decades by family mem- bers. And the new trilobite, fresh in from Morocco, is set to become a star attraction. The website www.trilobites.info describes trilobites as a “remarkable, hard-shelled, segmented creatures” that existed more 520 million years ago in the Earth’s ancient seas. It continues: “They went extinct before dinosaurs even came into exis- tence, and are one of the key signature creatures of the Palaeozoic Era, the first era to exhibit a proliferation of the complex life-forms that established the foundation of life as it is today. “Although dinosaurs are the most well-known fossil animals, trilobites are also a favourite among those famil- iar with Palaeontology (the study of the development of life on Earth), and are found in the rocks of all continents. Interestingly, it adds that: “Trilo- bites were among the early arthropods, a phylum of hard-shelled creatures with multiple body segments and jointed legs (although the legs, anten- nae and other finer structures of trilo- bites only rarely are preserved). That is what makes the Woodies trilobite so exciting, Doug says. “It is so well preserved, and has its legs and antennae intact,” he said. The website goes onto say that tri- lobites are an extinct class of arthro- pods – the Trilobita – comprising 10 orders, more 150 families, about 5000 genera, and more than 20,000 de- scribed species. “New species of trilobites are un- earthed and described every year,” the website claims. “This makes trilobites the single most diverse class of extinct organ- isms, and within the generalised body plan of trilobites there was a great deal of diversity of size and form. The smallest known trilobite species is un- der a millimetre long, while the largest include species from 30 to over 70 cm in length (roughly a foot to over two feet long!). “With such a diversity of species and sizes, speculations on the ecol- ogy of trilobites includes planktonic, swimming, and crawling forms, and we can presume they filled a varied set of trophic (feeding) niches, although perhaps mostly as detritivores, preda- tors, or scavengers. “Most trilobites are about an inch long, and part of their appeal is that you can hold and exam- ine an entire fossil animal and turn it about in your hand. Try that with your average dinosaur!” What makes the Woods’ new trilo- bite so remarkable is its three dimen- sional form. Fossils are more generally presented as a flat, or almost flat, and two-dimensional. Someone spent a lot of time re- moving the rock from around this tri- lobite, Doug said. • Continued Page 12 Fantastic fossil finds a new home at Woodsie’s Vimal is education award finalist SUNITAFE international student Vimal Ram, BE- LOW, is a finalist in the 2014 Victorian Interna- tional Education Interna- tional Student of the Year awards, in the field of vocational education and training. Fiji-born Vimal is studying Certificate IV in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery). SuniTAFE says his academic excellence was demonstrated by completing his first year of studies with the high- est marks in classes that included more than 100 domestic and interna- tional students. He was also described as someone who actively participated as a student leader, and who had gained a variety of skills through volunteering at local events and commu- nity lunches. His knowl- edge also broadened through working part time at Mildura Brewery, and the ability to utilise a range of fresh local pro- duce. The award ceremony will be held on Tuesday, September 9 in Mel- bourne. Now in its second year, the awards recog- nise leaders in Victoria’s international education sector, and the outstand- ing achievements of insti- tutions and international students benefiting from Victoria’s world-class ed- ucation services. By Grant Maynard firstname.lastname@example.org A Moment in Time Grant Maynard A Moment in Time • NEW ADDITIONS: Doug Woods with two of his latest additions. The first is the jade flower arrangement he purchased for his wife, Betty. It comprises about 300 leaves and petals, each hand carved and coloured separately. The green, white and yellow would be natural colours, with the stone coming from Tibet. Doug estimates at least 1000 man hours of work went into this piece. Just above his right hand is a slab of Dendritic Jasper. The dendrites are black inclusions expanding through the jasper, creating a fern-like effect. The dendrite is created in fine fractures from the crystallisation of weather solutions of neighbouring rock. It is also known as mocha stone and this particular example was found in Oregon, USA. LEFT: The new Trilobite.
Friday August 29 Vol 8 No 43
Friday August 15 Vol 8 No 41