Jurassic 10-Armed 'Squid' Were Speedy Swimmers


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Jurassic 10-Armed 'Squid' Were Speedy Swimmers
by Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer | January 06, 2016


Three extremely rare fossil specimens of an extinct squidlike animal provide new evidence of the 10-armed creature's body structure and suggest that it may have been a swift swimmer, a new study finds.

The fossils represent Acanthoteuthis, a genus of squid relatives that lived during the Jurassic period and measured between 9.8 and 15.7 inches (25 and 40 centimeters) long. What makes the specimens so exceptional is their preservation of soft body parts like the animals' fins and feeding structures, which are usually lost to time. Now, an analysis of the new material reveals never-before-seen organs, offering scientists their first glimpse of features that suggest how Acanthoteuthis may have lived, millions of years ago.
Adaptations to squid-style high-speed swimming in Jurassic belemnitids
Christian Klug, Günter Schweigert, Dirk Fuchs, Isabelle Kruta, Helmut Tischlinger 2016

Although the calcitic hard parts of belemnites (extinct Coleoidea) are very abundant fossils, their soft parts are hardly known and their mode of life is debated. New fossils of the Jurassic belemnitid Acanthoteuthis provided supplementary anatomical data on the fins, nuchal cartilage, collar complex, statoliths, hyponome and radula. These data yielded evidence of their pelagic habitat, their nektonic habit and high swimming velocities. The new morphological characters were included in a cladistic analysis, which confirms the position of the Belemnitida in the stem of Decabrachia (Decapodiformes).

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