Fossil Friday 2/6/14: A cephalopod

A fossil of Aturia

UF 183333, a fossil shell of Aturia sp. The small holes seen on the sides of the shell may have been caused by hydrostatic pressure when the shell sank to the bottom of the ocean after the organism died. (Photo © IVP FLMNH)

Nautilus_Palau

A modern-day Nautilus belauensis. Photo © Manuae, from Wikimedia.

This Fossil Friday we have another invertebrate for you, Aturia. Like last week’s turritellid, Aturia is a mollusc; however, it belongs to the Class Cephalopoda. Aturia is a member of the Order Nautilida, which includes the modern-day Nautilus.This specimen was found in the lower Gatún Formation of Panama and is middle Miocene in age. The shell is divided into chambers that are visible on the outside of the shell. The chambers are connected by a duct called a siphuncle and together would have been used for buoyancy in life.

If you would like to learn a bit more about this specimen, look up its catalog number on the FLMNH Invertebrate Paleontology Collections website: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/invertpaleo/search.asp.

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