STL Science Center

STL Science Center

29 April 2014

Ammonite Literature Is All Around Us

Ammonites are often used as markers of biozones and stratigraphic layers. They are not as often used to describe mineral deposits in formations or zones of interior seaways (okay, that is not entirely true, they are used for that purpose on a fairly regular basis, but I would not say often). Their diversity has been discussed (in Pondoland, South Africa interestingly enough) as well. Describing the fossil fauna of a shoreline is close to the heart of paleontology's roots in the United Kingdom, so that article has a little nostalgia to it. The articles I am most interested in today, though, are about evolution and anatomy. Anyone that knows me knows that that is to be expected. The article on evolution is available in its entirety online and discusses the history of a single Jurassic genus Kosmoceras. The genus encompasses more than 100 species known from European fossils and is considered to be a fast moving nektonic carnivore (meaning it ate other animals and that it swam). The article discussing anatomy is not free online but discusses buoyancy in extinct and in "the living ammonite." The abstract, the only part free online, does not mention what this living ammonite is, but it may be referencing the living nautilus, which is actually on a  different branch of the cephalopod family.

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