Tuesday, 25 August 2020


Look at this adorable one! It is a wee baby fossil octopus. This specimen is a particularly exquisite example of Keuppia levante, an extinct genus of octopus that swam our ancient seas. 

Keuppia is in the family Palaeoctopodidae and one of the earliest representatives of the order Octopoda. These marine cuties are in the class Cephalopoda making them relatives of our modern squid and cuttlefish.

There are two species of KeuppiaKeuppia hyperbolaris and Keuppia levante — both of which we find as fossils. We find their remains, along with those of the genus Styletoctopus, in Cretaceous-age Hâqel and Hjoula localities in Lebanon. 

For many years, Palaeoctopus newboldi (Woodward, 1896) from the Santonian limestones at Sâhel Aalma, Lebanon, was the only known pre‐Cenozoic coleoid cephalopod believed to have an unambiguous stem‐lineage representative of Octobrachia Fioroni. 

With the unearthing of some extraordinary specimens with exquisite soft‐part preservation in the Lebanon limestones, our understanding of ancient octopus morphology has blossomed. 

The specimens are from the sub‐lithographical limestones of Hâqel and Hâdjoula, in north‐west Lebanon. These localities are about 15 km apart, 45 km away from Beirut and 15 km away from the coastal city of Jbail. The cutie you see here was collected earlier this year & is about 5 cm long.