Photo of a corn maze from above. The paths of the maze form a Trilobite, a honey bee, a butterfly, an ammonite, an empty jar, a sear point, a galena, a Van Hise microscope and a nautiloid.
ANGIE TREINEN

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Giant trilobite crashes Wisconsin corn field

The cornucopia of corn mazes that comes with autumn typically draw on sports or pop culture.  But one Wisconsin farmer has grown a uniquely science-themed crop; after being approached by geologists at the University of Wisconsin’s Geology Museum in Madison, Angie Treinen modeled her maze after the state fossil, the long-extinct trilobite. The trilobite spans 146 meters from cephalon to pygidium, or head to tail, and is carved into the shape of a spiny Ceraurus trilobite instead of the plainer state fossil, Calymene. The maze also includes a natural science–themed “cabinet of curiosities,” such as the state mineral, galena. (You can see a key to the entire maze here.) Geologists and others from the museum will run trilobite teach-ins during weekends in October. Among the offerings: trilobite (temporary) tattoos, a trilobite bean bag toss, and a replica of the largest known trilobite, Isotelus rex. Trilobites are “in a sweet spot for geoscience education,” says museum Assistant Director Brooke Norsted. And carving one into a corn maze helps reach people who “may not choose to go to a geology museum in their spare time.”