Click to enlargeDevil's Toenail

On the beach at Hock Cliff near Gloucestershire, England you will find a range of fossils from the Lower Jurassic period. One known as Gryphaea Arcuata or "Devil's Toenail". This asymmetrical oyster-like bivalve lived in the mud on the sea-floor. The whole valley of Gloucester was occupied by a warm sea deposit of clays and clayey limestones. The organisms once living in these shells were extinct cephalopods, members of the Subclass Ammonoidea of the Mollusca. They were related to the nautilus which has survived the Cretaceous/Tertiary extinction, and also to the octopus. The animal swam in the sea like a nautilus or a squid and had tentacles; it also had internal chambers in the shell which contained varying gas content so that the animal had hydrostatic control and could vary its depth in the water.

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Click to enlargeDevil's Toenail Ammonite -- SOLDHardened calcite shell, chamber is filled with sea floor sediment. Display stand included.


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