By Joseph “PaleoJoe” Kchodl

OLENELLUS fowleri is almost circular in shape. Its cephalon or head section is very large and broad and is the distinguishing feature of this trilobite. It is very highly ornamented with many rearward projecting spines.

The eyes are set very closely on the head section and are rather large. It has a small tail section. The central or axial lobe is very thin, and both pleural lobes are quite large.

OLENELLUS fowleri is a rare and spectacular trilobite find.

DID YOU KNOW: Trilobites, an extinct form of arthropod related to insects, crabs, crayfish, and horseshoe crabs, are among the most prevalent invertebrates with hard body parts to appear during the Cambrian Period. These creatures are called trilobite due to the three distinct “lobes” running vertically through the body section.

Joseph “PaleoJoe” Kchodl and his daughter, Jen “PaleoJen” Kchodl.

About the columnist: Joseph “PaleoJoe” Kchodl is a paleontologist, educator, veteran, author, fossil dig organizer/guide, business owner, husband, father, and grandfather, and fossil fanatic. For decades, he’s spent hours in classrooms around the Midwestern United States and beyond, speaking to school children about fossils and fossil hunting. Visit his site to purchase fossils, contact PaleoJoe, visit

Plus, learn more about PaleoJoe and his daughter PaleoJen and their paleontology exploration partnership in an the article Fueling a Passion for Paleontology.