Further rummages through the cephalopods — ammonites (and others) from around the world (Part 2)

Neale Monks (UK) In first part of this two part series (Rummages through the core collection of British cephalopods (Part 1)), we looked at some of those British ammonites and belemnites that you’re likely to have in your collection. As we saw, even the most familiar species can have mysteries surrounding them, particularly with regard to things like diet and swimming abilities. But, if you’re a fan of ammonites and their relatives, there’s a good chance you’ve picked up some specimens from other parts of the world as well. Indeed, one of the most remarkable things about ammonites in particular is how widespread some species are, which has made them among the most important groups for biostratigraphy. Put simply, biostratigraphy is the art of using fossils common to two or more geological formations to demonstrate the fact that they were deposited at the same time. Ammonites Being distinctive in shape and often very common, ammonites were among the first fossils to be used for biostratigraphy and identifying ammonite species from different deposits was pretty much all people did with them. Understanding them as living creatures was a minority pursuit until relatively recently and, to be fair, ammonites have proven to be quite difficult fossils to explain. Unlike, say, dinosaur or fish bones, ammonite shells tell us relatively little about what the muscles and others soft parts looked like. In some ways, ammonite shells are like sharks’ teeth — abundant and very varied, but only very narrowly informative. It is generally … Read More

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