TriopsToday I had lunch with a former trainee and co-author who since gone on to good and great things. We both have families and at one stage we started talking about the benefits of keeping pets for children. And that is how I learned about triops, for my friend keeps triops (from the Greek for ‘three eyes’). Considered ‘living fossils’ triops have a fossil record that reaches back to the late Carboniferous, 300 million years ago. One extant species, Triops cancriformis, has hardly changed since the Jurassic period (approximately 180 million years ago). Put another way, triops were swimming around in pools of water when the first dinosaurs started to roam the earth and they are still here. Compare and contrast with homo sapiens, which first became anatomically distinct about 200,000 years ago. As this enthusiast, Chip Hannum, puts it on his website here, “In the time that the triops have been here, the Earth has undergone countless changes. The land has gone from a single super continent, Pangea, to the seven continents of today. The climates have cycled hot and cold and back again many, many times. Almost every animal species alive today has evolved since the triops appeared on the scene. Thousands of more species evolved within that time, thrived for a bit, and were driven exinct for one reason or another. The triops have been there through it all.They are, in every sense of the word, biological marvels of survival and niche adaptation. They have done more than just survive, though. Today, triops are found on every continent except Antarctica and there are at least 15 known species.” So, if you want to keep things in perspective, keep some triops.