Phylum Mollusca; Class: Cephalopoda; Subclass: Ammonoidea; Order: Goniatida
Geologic Age: Devonian (400 million years old)
Fossil Site: Atlas Mountains in Morocco
Goniatites are Ammonoids with a distinctive goniotitic zig-zag pattern in the sutures that mark the spiraling growth of the shell. The extinct ammonite that decended from Nautiloids is an example of the remarkable symmetry often found in nature. Mineral exchange over the eons can create an amazing array of contrasting colors and the beautiful natural display you see here. Ammonites were Cephalopods sharing a common ancestor with the squid and octopus. The ammonites that appeared in the Devonian became very diverse and widespread in the Paleozoic and Mesazoic before going extinct along with the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period. The goniatites lived early in the Devonian period, some 400 million years ago, and became extinct during the Permian period.
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