What Are Some Facts About Ammonites?


Quick Answer

Ammonites are cephalopod mollusks that went extinct over 65 million years ago, according to Dinosaur Jungle. Ammonites are known for their spiral shells, but some had non-spiral shells. During medieval times, ammonite fossils were referred to as snake stones or serpent stones, and they were thought to be petrified snakes. Ammonites were regarded as a symbol of the god Vishnu and were seen in temples of worship.

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Full Answer

Ammonites would have been one the most intelligent species on the planet. They first appeared 400 million years go. Ammonites are related to squid, octopus and cuttlefish, but none of their close relatives are living. Because of their resemblance to ram horns, the Roman author Pliny the Elder referred to ammonites as "horns of Ammon." Ammon is an Egyptian god with the horns of a ram.

Ammonites are similar to the chambered Nautilus of the modern period. Ammonites grew a chambered shell into which they pumped air and floated throughout the ocean to search for food. Their ability to float at different ocean depths inspired science fiction author Jules Verne to name the first submarine the Nautilus. Ammonites had large eyes and tentacles for grabbing prey. Some ammonites were avid swimmers, while others merely floated and were bottom feeders.

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