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


Here are some books from Amazon.com:

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Ammonite
By Nicola Griffith

Del Rey
Released: 2002-04-10
Kindle Edition (360 pages)

Ammonite
 
Product Description:
Change or die: the only options available on the Durallium Company-owned planet GP. The planet's deadly virus had killed most of the original colonists -- and changed the rest irrevocably. Centuries after the colony had lost touch with the rest of humanity, the Company returned to exploit GP, and its forces found themselves fighting for their lives. Afraid of spreading the virus, the Company had left its remaining employees in place, afraid and isolated from the natives.
Then anthropologist Marghe Taishan arrived on GP, sent to test a new vaccine against the virus. As she risked death to uncover the natives' biological secret, she found that she, too, was changing, and realized that not only had she found a home on GP -- she herself carried the seeds of its destruction . . .
WINNER OF THE LAMBDA AND TIPTREE AWARDS


From the Paperback edition.

Product Description:
Change or die: the only options available on the Durallium Company-owned planet GP. The planet's deadly virus had killed most of the original colonists -- and changed the rest irrevocably. Centuries after the colony had lost touch with the rest of humanity, the Company returned to exploit GP, and its forces found themselves fighting for their lives. Afraid of spreading the virus, the Company had left its remaining employees in place, afraid and isolated from the natives.
Then anthropologist Marghe Taishan arrived on GP, sent to test a new vaccine against the virus. As she risked death to uncover the natives' biological secret, she found that she, too, was changing, and realized that not only had she found a home on GP -- she herself carried the seeds of its destruction . . .
WINNER OF THE LAMBDA AND TIPTREE AWARDS


From the Paperback edition.
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.
Ammonite Planets (Omnibus): Ammonite Galaxy #1-3
By Gillian Andrews

Released: 2014-07-27
Kindle Edition (816 pages)

Ammonite Planets (Omnibus): Ammonite Galaxy #1-3
 
Product Description:
This omnibus edition exclusive to the Kindle bookstore brings you the first three books of the award-winning Ammonite Galaxy series - a thousand pages in one volume!

"Awesome book! I'd give this 6 stars for writing if I could. I stayed up till 5 am last night because I was that enthralled." Rose - Podiobooks reviewer (about Valhai)

Meet Six and Diva for the first time in this special omnibus edition of the first three books in this series, starting with Valhai, which is a Readers Favorite award-winning book and a Parsec Awards finalist.

"It continues to astound me that this author has come up with something so completely original and interesting." Cynikat, Podiobooks reviewer.

EXTRACT:

The two occupants were staring at each other in disbelief.
“You’re a no-name!” said Diva, and took a step back.
“And?” said Six, and took a step forward.
“Don’t come near me!”
“I was only going to offer you my hand!” Six said, plaintively.
“I wouldn’t touch your grubby hand if I were drowning in a sea of Xianthan crocodiles!” snapped Diva.
“Oh, So sorry, your mulchiness. If I could I would instantly remove my presence, but you may have noticed this cabin is for two, and we happen to be locked in.”
“There must be some mistake. Kindly stay on your own side of the cabin!”

Blank Journal - Fibonacci Ammonite Shell
By Gem Books

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (150 pages)

Blank Journal - Fibonacci Ammonite Shell
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Product Description:
Blank Journal/Notebook - Fibonacci Ammonite Shell, Fossil

Great notebook for the fossil and geology lover in your life.  Can be used for class notes, as a journal, even as a place to keep track of your list of things to do.  The uses are endless.  Makes a great gift.
  • 6" x 9" 
  • college rule
  • 150 pages
  • white paper
  • glossy cover
Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir
By Penelope Lively

Penguin Books
Released: 2014-02-06
Kindle Edition (242 pages)

Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir
 
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.
Biographic Austen
By Sophie Collins

AMMONITE BOOKS
Released: 2018-10-01
Hardcover (96 pages)

Biographic Austen
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  • AMMONITE BOOKS
Product Description:
Many people know that Jane Austen (1775–1817) was one of the greatest literary voices in history, celebrated by critics and the public alike, who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. What, perhaps, they don’t know is that she was one of eight children of a clergyman; that all of her novels were originally published anonymously, with one simply authored "By a Lady," and that she once accepted a marriage proposal, but changed her mind the following day. This handbook to her life and work presents an array of irresistible facts and figures converted into infographics to reveal the author behind the words.
Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time
By Penelope Lively

Isis Publishing Ltd
Audible Audiobook

Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time
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Product Description:

This is not quite a memoir. Rather, it is the view from old age. And a view of old age itself, this place at which we arrive with a certain surprise - ambushed, or so it can seem. One of the few advantages of age is that you can report on it with a certain authority; you are a native now, and know what goes on here.

Taking in old age, the context of one's life and times, memory, reading and writing, and the identifying cargo of possessions - two ammonites, a cat, a pair of American ducks, and a leaping fish sherd, amongst others - this is an elegant, moving, and deeply enjoyable memoir by one of our most loved writers.

The Sherlock Holmes Escape Book: The Adventure of the London Waterworks: Solve the Puzzles to Escape the Pages
By Ormond Sacker

Ammonite Press
Released: 2019-10-01
Paperback (128 pages)

The Sherlock Holmes Escape Book: The Adventure of the London Waterworks: Solve the Puzzles to Escape the Pages
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Product Description:
The Sherlock Holmes Escape Book is the first in a unique new series of puzzle books, in which the reader is trapped in the pages and must find their way out by solving the puzzles that hold the key to their freedom. Visual clues are hidden among the intriguing illustrations; fiendish riddles, logic puzzles, and timed challenges unlock hidden doors and reveal the direction of travel; and mathematical problems provide the codes required to follow the correct path. There are maps and mazes to explore; references to the original Sherlock Holmes adventures to unravel; and a code-wheel that holds the key to unlocking the next page. Solve the puzzles correctly to escape. Get them wrong, and you will find yourself further and further along the path to your own demise. This ingenious new series is a spin on the current urban craze for "escape rooms." Here, the book becomes the locked room, the pages become the path, and the reader can take on a challenge every bit as brain-teasing from the comfort of their own home.
Heteromorph: The Rarest Fossil Ammonites: Nature at its Most Bizarre
By Wolfgang Grulke

At One Communications
Hardcover

Heteromorph: The Rarest Fossil Ammonites: Nature at its Most Bizarre
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Product Description:
Ammonites dominated the sea before and during the time dinosaurs dominated the land. Some ammonites were large predators not unlike today's giant squid; others small and delicate. Three times during their reign of more than 300 million years ammonites experimented with the most bizarre and startling shell shapes. Now, new technology is revealing the full beauty of these 'heteromorph' ammonites and they have become some of the most desirable and passionately collected natural objects. This is their story - and how they are becoming a vibrant part of 21st century lifestyles, art and design. This book is a must for anyone interested in the wonders of the natural world, and their impact on our culture.


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