Lituites lituus

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Lituites lituus.

Senckenberg Naturmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Image: GrrlScientist, 13 April 2010 [larger view]

If you were here today, I would show you this lovely Ordovician fossil shell. The Ordovician Period began with a series of major extinction events that ended the Cambrian Period roughly 488.3 ± 1.7 million years ago, and lasted for about 44.6 million years. Despite a world filled with destruction, death and mass extinctions, this little animal managed to live.

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That's a weird looking thing. As if it couldn't decide whether to be straight or coiled.

Most Ordo cephalopods are of the straight shell design. That's an early example of 'deviancy' from the up-to-then norm. They would soon evolved a great variety of designs, with the more extreme ones looking like losers in a pasta-design contest.

By Frank Habets (not verified) on 18 Apr 2010 #permalink