[b]For sale: Lebanese Cretaceous specimen[/b]

Feb 26, 2004

I was encouraged to offer more fossil specimens for sale, so here's something quite nice and affordable (especially in relation to that French squid I posted!! That's a pricey one. This is a LOT more affordable)

This is a very nice example of cf. Paleoctopus from the Cretaceous deposits of Hakel, Lebanon. I say cf. because there is very little literature out there on Lebanese material (most of the work is being done by the French and the Italians). I am not 100% sure that this is the genus. Quite often, similar animals are lumped into a single group and called the same thing. I will be travelling to Lebanon late this spring with some academics to hopefully do a fair bit of work describing a lot of their new animals. This little guy may very well fall into that category!

The specimen is complete, and is on a piece of lithographic limestone matrix. My biology may be a little out here (you guys know a lot more about octopus than I do!) so please forgive my ignorance if my anatomical info isn't quite right. The body of the animal is clearly evident, as are the remains of some of the internal organs. Is the exposed organ in the center an ink sac??? One of the nicest features about this specimen is the remarkable preservation of the tentacles. This is quite often the type of detail that you see in fossils found in lithographic limestones. Pretty amazing when you consider the age!!!

The matrix of this piece measures 15.5cm by 9.5cm, while the octopus itself measures 9.5cm in length.

$585 USD.

I will be posting more specimens over the coming days, such as ammonites with soft tissue preservation, ammonite and belemnite plates, mantis shrimp, and lobsters.


I am really not convinced that is a specimen of Palaeoctopus. I have not had the benefit of examining any of these specimens and can only judge by comparison of photographs of specimens on the internet, but have compiled a photo montage that can be used to compare. Dates are approximate.

I am fairly sure that this specimen is Trachyteuthis. The main points are that Palaeoctopus had a short squat body as with most modern octopuses but this specimen has an elongated mantle. Granted it could have become distorted and pushed out of shape, but as far as I know most Lebanese specimens seem to be undistorted. Why should this one be any different?

In addition, the specimen we are looking at, on the top left of the attached picture, seems to have a pair of fins that are consistant in shape with Trachyteuthis, very different in shape to Palaeoctopus which seems to have lobes similar to Vampyroteuthis.

Finally, the length of the arms in Palaeoctopus are longer than the body as can be seen in the top right-hand photo. Our mystery specimen, on the top left, has arms that are shorter akin to Trachyteuthis.

I'm the first to admit that I could well be completely wrong. Anyone have any other opinions?

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