Facts about Ammonites, an extinct prehistoric animal

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Other Prehistoric Animals   >   Ammonites

Ammonites



Ammonite Fossil
Click here for more Ammonite Pictures

Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Mollusca
  Class Cephalopoda
  Subclass Ammonoidea
Ammonites are an extinct group of cephalopod molluscs that lived in marine environments. They first appeared in the Late Silurian or Early Devonian (about 400 million years ago), and went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period (about 65 million years ago), during the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction. Although they outwardly physically resemble the modern Nautilus, Ammonites are actually believed to be more closely related to cuttlefish, octopi, and squid.

Ammonite fossils are often (but not always) a distinctive flattened spiral coil with visible ribs, although there are species with unusual coil shapes, partially coiled shells, and even uncoiled shells. Most Ammonites are quite small, perhaps 9 inches (23 centimeters) or less in diameter - there are however some larger types, for example Parapuzosia seppenradensis which is found in Cretaceous rocks from Germany is sometimes upto 6½ feet (2 meters) in diameter,

Fossilized ammonites preserved in rock:
Fossilized ammonites preserved in rock

Ammonite fossils have been known since ancient times:
  • The Roman author, Pliny the Elder (23 CE to 79 CE) called the fossils, the "horns of Ammon", because he thought that they resembled the ram's horns which the Egyptian god Ammon was depicted with.

  • In medieval times, Ammonites were often thought to be petrified snakes, and were often called "snake stones" or "serpent stones". The supposed petrification was usually ascribed to the actions of saints such as Saint Patrick (who was said to have driven the snakes out of Ireland).

  • In India, Ammonites were sometimes regarded as symbols of the god Vishnu, and were kept in temples.
Today, modern scientists often use Ammonites and Amminoids as "index fossils" (fossils which are used to help date the rocks that they are found in), particularly for Mesozoic Era rocks. This is possible because these fossils are relatively abundant in rocks, are widely distributed, and because different species evolved and went extinct in rapid succession - thus the presence of a particular species is indicative of rocks being formed in a particular time period.

Ammonites Timeline:



Ammonites were cephalopod molluscs that lived in the seas between 400 and 65 million years ago

Ammonites were cephalopod molluscs that lived in the seas between 400 and 65 million years ago


Related Information & Resources


See Also

Ammonite Books


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Ammonite
By Nicola Griffith

Griffith, Nicola
Released: 2002-04-30
Paperback (416 pages)

Ammonite
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Product Description:
Winner of the Lambda and Tiptree Awards“A knockout . . . Strong, likable characters, a compelling story, and a very interesting take on gender.”—Ursula K. Le Guin

Change or die. These are the only options available on planet Jeep. Centuries earlier, a deadly virus shattered the original colony, killing the men and forever altering the few surviving women. Now, generations after the colony lost touch with the rest of humanity, a company arrives to exploit Jeep—and its forces find themselves fighting for their lives. Terrified of spreading the virus, the company abandons its employees, leaving them afraid and isolated from the natives. In the face of this crisis, anthropologist Marghe Taishan arrives to test a new vaccine. As she risks death to uncover the women’s biological secret, she finds that she too is changing—and realizes that not only has she found a home on Jeep, but that she alone carries the seeds of its destruction. . . .

Ammonite is an unforgettable novel that questions the very meanings of gender and humanity. As readers share in Marghe’s journey through an alien world, they too embark on a parallel journey of fascinating self-exploration.

“A powerful story of connection, allegiance, and obligation. Read Nicola Griffith’s book—and keep an eye out for her name in the future.”—Vonda N. McIntyre 

“A marvelous blend of high adventure and mind-boggling social speculation.”—Kim Stanley Robinson
Ammonites
By Neale Monks

Brand: Smithsonian Books
Released: 2002-05-17
Paperback (176 pages)

Ammonites
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Product Description:
The beautiful spiral shells of these long-extinct marine invertebrates are among the most sought after and recognizable of fossils, yet little has been published about ammonites outside of geological journals. Neale Monks and Philip Palmer look at the latest ideas on ammonite biology and ecology to present this detailed picture of a once diverse and widespread group of animals.

The authors describe the evolution of ammonites and their relatives and explain how they created their shells and used them as flotation devices. All the major groups of ammonites are described and illustrated (as are many minor ones), and important material is included on anatomy, feeding, reproduction, and pathology. The 300-million-year existence of ammonites ended at around the same time that dinosaurs became extinct. Fortunately, ammonites were once so abundant that their fossilized shells can be readily found, and the authors provide a helpful guide to locating and collecting these unique fossils.
Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time
By Penelope Lively

Penguin
Paperback

Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time
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Ammonites-and-Leaping-Fish
Blank Journal - Fibonacci Ammonite Shell
By Gem Books

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (150 pages)

Blank Journal - Fibonacci Ammonite Shell
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Blank Journal/Diary/Composition Notebook - Fibonacci Ammonite Shell, Fossil. Blank notebook is the perfect size to travel with you, will fit in many purses and backpacks. Uses are endless for this notebook, could be used for class notes, as a planner or for organizing ideas, keeping track of your list of things to do, and much more. Makes a great gift.6" x 9"college rule150 pageswhite paperglossy covermade in USA
Ammonite. by Nicola Griffith
By Nicola Griffith

Gollancz
Paperback (416 pages)

Ammonite. by Nicola Griffith
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Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir
By Penelope Lively

Viking
Released: 2014-02-06
Hardcover (240 pages)

Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir
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Product Description:
The beloved and bestselling author takes an intimate look back at a life of reading and writing

“The memory that we live with . . . is the moth-eaten version of our own past that each of us carries around, depends on. It is our ID; this is how we know who we are and where we have been.”

Memory and history have been Penelope Lively’s terrain in fiction over a career that has spanned five decades. But she has only rarely given readers a glimpse into her influences and formative years.

Dancing Fish and Ammonites traces the arc of Lively’s life, stretching from her early childhood in Cairo to boarding school in England to the sweeping social changes of Britain’s twentieth century. She reflects on her early love of archeology, the fragments of the ancients that have accompanied her journey—including a sherd of Egyptian ceramic depicting dancing fish and ammonites found years ago on a Dorset beach. She also writes insightfully about aging and what life looks like from where she now stands.
Discovering The Mysterious Ammonites
By Neal Larson

Geolinea
Paperback

Discovering The Mysterious Ammonites
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Mates for Life: Devoted Couples from the Animal Kingdom
By Ammonite Press

Brand: Ammonite Press
Paperback (96 pages)

Mates for Life: Devoted Couples from the Animal Kingdom
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An ideal gift for that special person in your life, this is an affectionate and amusing look at our neighbors in the animal kingdom who opt for a monogamous relationship

The message clearly is: if they can do it, why can’t we? Stunning color photography captures cuddly cute or cooing couples in their natural habitats—designed to melt even the most hard hearted valentine, while informative text describes their mating rituals, the often elaborate display of feathers or fur, the special relationship the couples enjoy, their relationship with their offspring, plus fascinating facts about the species. Gibbons and guinea fowl, wolves and warblers, swans, skinks and seahorses, angel fish, beavers, voles and vultures are just a few of ensemble of creatures that prove that devotion to one partner is a way of life we should aspire to.

Everest
By Ammonite Press

Ammonite Press
Hardcover (288 pages)

Everest
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A lavish photographic record of the first ascent of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953

Approximately 400 unique photographs, along with descriptive captions, transport the reader from base camp to the snow-clad slopes and ridges of Mount Everest, and to the peak itself. The Earth's highest mountain, with a peak 8,848m (29,029ft) above sea level, located in the Himalayas between Nepal and China, has long been a lure for mountaineers and explorers. The dangers of altitude sickness, adverse weather conditions, and ferocious winds make the peak tantalizingly difficult to attain. The ninth British expedition, led by John Hunt, made two attempts in 1953. The first climbing pair came to within 300ft of the summit on May 26th, but were forced to turn back after experiencing oxygen problems. Two days later New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali Sherpa, made a second assault, reaching the summit at 11:30 am on May 29th via the South Col Route. The Royal Geographical Society's extensive archives contain an astonishingly detailed and intimate record of the unsuccessful expeditions in the 1920s and 1930s, and the landmark 1953 expedition, with many fascinating and beautiful images captured by the photographers who accompanied the climbing teams.

Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods
By Danna Staaf

ForeEdge
Hardcover (256 pages)

Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods
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Before there were mammals on land, there were dinosaurs. And before there were fish in the sea, there were cephalopods―the ancestors of modern squid and Earth’s first truly substantial animals. Cephalopods became the first creatures to rise from the seafloor, essentially inventing the act of swimming. With dozens of tentacles and formidable shells, they presided over an undersea empire for millions of years. But when fish evolved jaws, the ocean’s former top predator became its most delicious snack. Cephalopods had to step up their game. Many species streamlined their shells and added defensive spines, but these enhancements only provided a brief advantage. Some cephalopods then abandoned the shell entirely, which opened the gates to a flood of evolutionary innovations: masterful camouflage, fin-supplemented jet propulsion, perhaps even dolphin-like intelligence. Squid Empire is an epic adventure spanning hundreds of millions of years, from the marine life of the primordial ocean to the calamari on tonight’s menu. Anyone who enjoys the undersea world―along with all those obsessed with things prehistoric―will be interested in the sometimes enormous, often bizarre creatures that ruled the seas long before the first dinosaurs.


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