Nature Table No.8. Amazing Ammonites

Nature Table number 8 is a table full of Ammonites collected at Sedbury cliffs. Ammonites are a fossil everyone knows and their image is often used in design and art. They are incredible extinct organisms well worth a closer look.

I have drawn the outlines of the missing shells to try and show where the pieces are from.

There were a couple of large pieces below.

Ammonites are extinct , the closest living organism alive today is the nautilus.

Ammonites are molluscs and part of the group called the cephalopods, this includes octopus, squid, cuttlefish and the nautilus.

Ammonite facts

  • Ammonites were living for 140 million years during the Jurassic- Cretaceous which spans 201-66 million years ago. They became extinct around the same time as the dinosaurs.
  • They could live in water to depths of 100M the coiled shell is separated into chambers divided by septa. These structures strengthened the shell.
  • The shell is made of three layers of Aragonite the middle layer being nacerous ( mother of Pearl) this nautilus shell at the natural history museum in London has been decorated and carved in the mother of Pearl layer.
  • The animal itself lived in the last chamber . The other chambers contained gas and controlled buoyancy and movement.
  • The rocks at Sedbury cliffs were rich in Ammonites. There were many that were in large blocks along the shoreline.
  • The Oxford Natural History Museum has a brilliant display of British fossils along the ground floor galleries. I have added a few that caught my eye.
  • TheNatural History Museum in London has a favourite huge ammonite that I always visit ( as I did yesterday) this is sliced and polished and shows preservation with iron pyrites.
  • Finally for this post this is an Ammonite that I found in a Victorian box of rocks and fossils I bought years ago in a junk shop , it’s rather nice .
  • It’s brilliant to see Ammonites and fossils at museums and discover someone else’s collection but the real fun and excitement is discovering your own. You may be the first person to see something that lived 200 million years ago !!
  • Happy hunting 😀

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