Eye of the beholder


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Oct 19, 2003
I think this belongs in the F&H page, but feel free to move at will, oh mighty webmaster....

It's official: although Architeuthis dux still reigns supreme as "eye (cephalo)pod" with its 250 mm windows on the world, the extinct ichthyosaur Temnodontosaurus platyodon has been found to have been in posession of an eye that was 264 mm across. This is the largest eye ever recorded in the animal kingdom.

Must... control... fist... of... death!

Cephs need REVENGE!!!!!!!!


OK then, here's my question: any thoughts on our extinct friends the orthocones:nautiloi: or giant ammonites:ammonite:?
Well out of the entire history of evolution being 14mm out isnt too bad. :grin:

I had no idea that the Archi eye was so big that only one animal ever has had larger. Thats quite impressive. Does anyone think that there were bigger "Archies" in the past? - ie ones that dont leave fossil reccords, but may have been bigger than the current ones.
Anything outside of the scope of the current fossil record is obviously speculative, as much as the almost sure conclusion that there could always have been a bigger architeuthis specimen than the ones we've seen so far washed/trawled up.

Then again, there could always have been a bigger Temnodontosaurus than the ones we've dug up so far...
My imagination is running wild here:

If the shell of Parapuzosia was internal, the umbilicus could have been used as an eye socket, so the eyes could have been close to 1.5 meters dia. :cyclops:

In reality though, the eyes of nautloids and ammonoids were probably small enough to be pulled inside the aperture of the shell along with the buccal mass and arms. Most nautiloids and ammonoids were shallow water inhabitants so they wouldnt need the light gathering quality that extremely large eyes afford.

More wild imagination:
Waters of the cretaceous interior seaway of the US may have been quite turbid and murky so the cephalopods living there may have even been blind ???????
It really depends on whether we can linearly extrapolate from Nautilus. Then the true extinct giants might get to 30 cm , or something :shock:

I would say the increased body dimensions/eye diameter is, however, a fractional ratio. Could anyone inform me how that works with extant Nautiluses?
of course, unless I'm mistaken, no one has yet seen intact messie eyes, so they may be big enough to take the all-time record, right?
Phew! That's a relief! :grin:

:mesonych:ocular diameter minus :archi: ocular diameter, OK, so, you divide that by... and then substract, yup, take the square root of, uhuh, and then, OK, hmmm,..., what?! Only 13 milimeters!? :confused:
bigGdelta said:
Just checked the fact sheet and it says Messie has eyes larger than Archi.

Cephs still rule.

well it says:

The eyes are probably the largest in the animal kingdom (even larger than those of Architeuthis)

I believe the "probably" comes in because the eyes have been lost on all specimens ever described, possibly because they're easily lost from fishing nets.

Wasn't there a rumor some months back that some of the toothfish fishermen had videotaped a live messie chasing their caught fish as they reeled them in, or something like that? Presumably, that would show the eye size, but I don't think we heard any more about it...
I may be mistaken (so don't quote me here), but upon browsing through the newest Guiness Book Of World Records - 2006, at a friends place, it said that the biggest eyes ever were on Archi Dux

- at "40 cm"!!.

Perhaps they've found an absolutely MASSIVE Archi, :lol:, but it did surprise me that the most important part of a world record ie: the data was copied incorrectly.
I think the good people at Guinness may have had one :beer: too many, when committing that bit of information to print :smile:

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