Fossil squid do sometimes come up for sale like this; one major source seems to be Jurassic Solhofen deposits from Germany. This is a site of excveptional preservation and the source for the seven verified fossils of Archaeopterix, the infamous dino-bird. Some European fossil shops occasionally stock these squid but prices are usually at least $500 or more depending on the state of preservation, rather too expensive for me!
It's worth keeping an eye on e-bay as this was certainly not the first specimen of Trachyteuthis to be advertised here. Perhaps a cheaper one will sneak through one day!
Clem, what on earth is your new avatar? I can't make head or tail of it?
If anyone is feeling rich this month here is another beautiful example of Trachyteuthis libanotica for sale. This Cretaceous squid was probably a vampyromorph. The soft-bodied preservation on this example is fantastic.
For the record, I've just found out that Trachyteuthis is not believed to be a vampyromorph but belonging to the mesoteuthids, a group that split from the vampyromorphs in the mid-
Jurassic and is now believed to be totally extinct. They were not the direct ancestors of modern squid at all.
Yes Sedusa, these fossils really do reach high prices, and doubtless will continue to do so as long as someone is willing to pay.
Have you seen this one for sale? The preservation is unbelievable, you can see the beak, and (is that a) siphon. Interesting that the mesoteuthids appear to have had eight arms of equal length and no tentacles.
Well, I have not seen any examples of Trachyteuthis with fins, but then again I have only seen a couple of photos of this animal. Images are not easy to find.
I am sure fins must be present. Hopefully having finally sorted out this creatures' systematics, it transpires that the Upper Jurassic Trachyteuthis is a member of the family Trachyteuthididae, which along with the Palaeololiginidae, make up the Mesoteuthina, a sub-order of the Vampyromorpha. These Mesoteuthids had some form of distinct gladius, though exactly how this differed from the Vampyromorphs I have yet to discover. (It may have been shovel-shaped).
They had eight arms of roughly equal lengths, and were a split from the Vampyromorphs sometime in the early Jurassic. They left no descendants and became an extinct family in the Cretaceous. Certainly the closely related Palaeololiginidae had fins, and example of which can be seen here as did the Vampyromorphs, the stem group from which the Trachyteuthididae were derived in the early Jurassic.
Practically every source of information on these ancient 'squid' seems contradictory. It's giving me quite a headache.