Friday, 13 February 2009
Ammonites looked like the still extant Nautilus, a coiled shellfish that lives off the southern coast of Asia. They were kissing cousins in the Class Cephalopoda, meaning "head-footed," closely related to modern squid, cuttlefish and octopus. Cephalopods have a complex eye structure and can swim rapidly. They use these to their advantage as successful marine predators, cruising through the sea expertly grabbing prey with their tentacles - kind of like a hungry fellow at a smorgasborg. Fresh fish anyone?
The ammonite in the image is from the British Columbia Paleontological Alliance calendar. Beautiful photo... even though the ammonite is upside down. The opening at the edge of the shell is where the creature would have lived. Visit www.bcfossils.ca to see the original image and order your calendar for next year.