Fossil Friday: A simple Cone Shell

Shell of a Conus molis. (c) IVP FLMNH

Shell of a Conus molis.
© IVP FLMNH

For this edition of Fossil Friday we have the Cone Shell (Conus molis) that was a predatory gastropod from the Middle Miocene. It is a particularly large gastropod, between 50 and 100 mm, with a simple white shell that has no real ornamentation on it. The whorl is quite wide and low and has relatively narrow aperture. It is found throughout the Gatun formation in Panama as well as several other countries in Central America and in the United States as well.

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A figure from Jonathan Hendricks’ paper showing different shells in normal light and how they appear under ultraviolet light. The third row shows the ultraviolet image with the colors reversed to show that the brightest glow under UV light corresponds to the darkest pigmentation. Scale bar = 1 cm. (Photo excerpted from Hendricks 2015)

One researcher named Jonathan Hendricks uses ultraviolet light to reveal the hidden patterns that appear to have been lost on Neogene cone shells from the Dominican Republic. To read the paper on his findings, click here.

References:

Hendricks, J. R. 2015. Glowing Seashells: Diversity of Fossilized Coloration Patterns on Coral Reef-Associated Cone Snail (Gastropoda: Conidae) Shells from the Neogene of the Dominican Republic. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0120924. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0120924

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