Moroccan Phacops  LbNA # 29545

OwnerThe Doctors B    
Placed DateMar 22 2007
CountyOther International
LocationAssa, Morocco, INT
Found By
Last Found
Hike Distance?

This letterbox was planted by Alex of The Doctors B on a geologic expedition to Morocco. It is devoted to the Phacops trilobite, a fossil prevalent in the Devonian Period.

Phacops rana and its related genus can be recognized by its large eyes (which remind some observers of a frog's eyes — the specific name rana is a reference to a common frog), its fairly large size (up to 6 inches long), and its habit of rolling up into a ball like a pill bug. In order to protect themselves from predators, Phacops rana would roll into a ball with its hard exoskeleton on the outside as protection. Many other trilobites possessed the same ability, but Phacops rana nearly perfected it. The slightest amount of sediment would trigger their senses, and Phacops rana would be hidden in a tiny shelter made of its own body. Although this safety feature often helped them to evade predators, occasionally it backfired and the trilobite would be buried under heavy sediment. Their fossils can still be found in balled-up positions 400 million years later.

Phacops rana is found both in the northeastern U.S. and in Morocco, a country in North Africa. This can be explained by the fact that North America was attached to the African plate during the Devonian.

Because of its abundance and popularity with collectors, Phacops rana was designated the Pennsylvania state fossil by the state's General Assembly on December 5, 1988.

Information taken from:

Find the Nidaros Hotel in Assa, Morocco. It is a very pleasent place to stay with wonderful food and clean rooms (each with their own shower and facilities!).

When you get to the hotel, locate the corner of the building where the electrical wires are attached. Follow the wires from the building to the nearest electric/phone pole.

Walk to this pole. You should now be near the corner of a tall stone wall that surrounds the local school grounds. Stand with your back to the wall at the corner facing the large ridge behind the hotel (the hotel should be on your right).

Walk approximately 6 feet to a rectangular concrete slab (that measures about 4'x6'). What you seek is under the broken corner nearest you. Good luck!