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Fossil Focus: Ammonoids


De Baets, Kenneth; Hoffmann, René; Sessa, Jocelyn A; Klug, Christian (2016). Fossil Focus: Ammonoids. www.palaeontologyonline.com: Palaeontological Association.

Abstract

Introduction: Ammonoids (Ammonoidea) are an extinct group of marine invertebrates with an external shell. They were cephalopods, and hence closely related to modern cuttlefish, squid, octopuses and the pearly nautilus. In a non-scientific context, they are commonly called ammonites, but that term really includes only Jurassic and Cretaceous forms in its stricter scientific sense. The Ammonoidea as a whole lived from the Early Devonian to the earliest Palaeogene period, covering a timespan of about 350 million years. Normally, only their shells, also called conchs, or their internal moulds are found in the fossil record. Conchs from adult ammonoids range from about 5 millimetres to 2 metres in diameter.
Due to the large diversity (taxonomic richness), disparity (morphological richness), nearly global distribution and abundance of their shells in the fossil record, ammonoids have been valued by geologists, palaeontologists, biologists and fossil collectors alike. They have been particularly useful for studies of biodiversity and for correlating and assigning relative ages to rocks (the field of biostratigraphy). Ammonoids have also proved valuable for studying the processes and patterns of evolution, because they repeatedly evolved towards more coiled, larger and/or more complex conchs. They probably had a large variety of life modes and reproductive strategies, but despite the widespread attention that they have received, there are still several controversies concerning the group’s palaeoecology, anatomy and evolutionary relationships.

Abstract

Introduction: Ammonoids (Ammonoidea) are an extinct group of marine invertebrates with an external shell. They were cephalopods, and hence closely related to modern cuttlefish, squid, octopuses and the pearly nautilus. In a non-scientific context, they are commonly called ammonites, but that term really includes only Jurassic and Cretaceous forms in its stricter scientific sense. The Ammonoidea as a whole lived from the Early Devonian to the earliest Palaeogene period, covering a timespan of about 350 million years. Normally, only their shells, also called conchs, or their internal moulds are found in the fossil record. Conchs from adult ammonoids range from about 5 millimetres to 2 metres in diameter.
Due to the large diversity (taxonomic richness), disparity (morphological richness), nearly global distribution and abundance of their shells in the fossil record, ammonoids have been valued by geologists, palaeontologists, biologists and fossil collectors alike. They have been particularly useful for studies of biodiversity and for correlating and assigning relative ages to rocks (the field of biostratigraphy). Ammonoids have also proved valuable for studying the processes and patterns of evolution, because they repeatedly evolved towards more coiled, larger and/or more complex conchs. They probably had a large variety of life modes and reproductive strategies, but despite the widespread attention that they have received, there are still several controversies concerning the group’s palaeoecology, anatomy and evolutionary relationships.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Scientific Publication in Electronic Form
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:1 February 2016
Deposited On:12 Jan 2017 11:12
Last Modified:13 Jan 2017 04:10
Publisher:Palaeontological Association
Series Name:Palaeontology [online]
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://www.palaeontologyonline.com/articles/2016/fossil-focus-ammonoids/
Related URLs:http://www.palaeontologyonline.com (Publisher)

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