The oldest fossils in New Zealand are of middle Cambrian age, about 505 million years old. They were discovered in 1948 at Trilobite Rock, an isolated limestone outcrop in the Cobb valley, shown in the photograph. As the name indicates, the fossils discovered were tiny trilobites – an extinct form of marine arthropod that lived in the Paleozoic era. Since the discovery, a number of other fossil localities have been found in and around the valley.
Trilobite Rock is now a reserve administered by the Department of Conservation, and collecting fossils is no longer permitted.
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Photograph by Bruce Hayward
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