[Old Board Archive]: Fossils / evolution of cephs


Staff member
Site Owner
May 30, 2000
Some of you may remember this classic thread from the "old" message board system (pre-November 2002). Enjoy!


Fossils / evolution of cephs|tonmo|
I came across this article and it got me thinking -- are there any octopus fossils? I mean, they don't have skeletons, so what's the deal? And what do we know about their evolution?

So I tried to research an answer and came up with the following bits of info:

UH Publishes Breakthrough on Squid Evolution -- this is a really brief but interesting article from 2/15/02 that provides a synopsis of a study that was published that week. The study basically finds that squid have surprisingly few "Hox genes," which are apparently responsible for fundamental structure of a living body as the organism grows. It was once thought that complex animals (such as squid) would have many Hox
genes, while simple creatures (such as sea anemones) would have few. So this study seems to pretty much throw that idea out the window. The article itself does a good job of explaining the findings; have a look.

Octopus Fossil -- little tidbit about an octopus fossil being found from the Jurassic period, along with what seems to be an illustration of it?

Just thought I'd share what I found... I see a lot out there about shelled cephalopods, but if anyone can point to any other info on squid/octopus evolution, I'd be interested! Thanks,

Re: Fossils / evolution of cephs|steve_oshea|
Howdo Tony; sorry, it's just another shelled octopus, but it is the only fossil octopus that I am aware of in New Zealand literature (I'd love someone to write something to the contrary, as this is an area I have sadly neglected in my studies and need to brush up on).

At any rate, the shell belongs to the genus Izomonauta - very similar to Argonauta (the Paper Nautilus) described from the Kapitean (local) Stage (upper Miocene), 5.3+ million years ago.

Ref: Marshall, B.A. 1971. Izomonauta (Argonautidae, Cephalopoda, Coleoida) from the Kapitean Stage (Uppermost Miocene) of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics 14: 288-292.

I'm afraid there are no soft parts described for this record. That would really be a buzz.

Re: Fossils / evolution of cephs|pikaia|

you know what in intresting book about the evolution of the ocean is. is the book Planet Ocean ( im sorry i forgot who wrote it) but it is the story of these two guys who go around looking for fosils and other stuff-they go on a tour of the Burgess shale place in the rocky mountains-very cool- it doesnt really have much to say about cephlopods there's not much in the fossil record about them but it does have some about amonites which is very interesting.

there's also a lot of pictures by robert troll and there pretty cool.

another book i would most definently recomend if you just want to learn about fossils and the evolution of the sea in general you Absolutly have to read Richard Eliss's Aquaevolution, i have yet to finish it but so far it's really good .:smile:

Re: Fossils / evolution of cephs|pikaia|
Hello again
well it seems i got confused and told you the wrong book title, what i ment to say was the book by Richard Ellis is called aquagenisis. Thats all bye bye

Re: Fossils / evolution of cephs|tonmo|
This week I received an email from Tony Frazer regarding this thread, and I'm pasting it below with his permission. Thanks for this fascinating detail, Tony F.!

-- tonmo

Hello Tony, Thought I would pass on a bit of info re: fossil ceph's..

I have seen many over the years, for I am a geologist and fossil / mineral dealer.. Since I have a particular interest in cephalopods I have taken special note of there occurrence and have bought and sold many specimens over the years.. Over recent years I have seen many fine octopus and squid fossils from Lebanon (Cretaceous), these specimens are very very impressive, soft body parts such as eyes tentacles and ink sacks being intricately preserved.. a good specimen can be had for from U$1000 to U$2000.. Many very large squid fossils (some over 3ft in length) have been recovered from the Solnhofen fossils deposits of Germany (Jurassic). Bizarre fossil squid with barbed tentacles have also been found at Holzmaden Germany (Early Jurassic) these are probably the most impressive of all fossil cephalopods and can fetch many thousands of dollars.. Ammonites and Belemnites are relatively common worldwide, Morocco is probably the most prolific and most famous source of these, a fine ammonite specimen can be purchased for as little as U$20. A most unusual occurrence of fossil belemnite occurs here in Australia, unique in the fact they are fossilized with gem quality opal, they can be upward of 5 inches in length, I have seen some that have fetched upward of U$25,000, many of the most impressive are cut up for gemstones!!!.. Some of the finest and rarest of all fossil ceph's are from Voultre-sur-Rhone, Ardeche, France, these are the most intricately preserved octopus, they are found in limestone concretions, I have only ever seen one such specimen.. Also recently I was shown a fine fossilized cuttlefish from Lyme Regis U.K.. it was approx. 8 inches in length and was most impressive, it was the first to be recovered from this locality.. Hope this info will be handy.. Tony Fraser[/][/]

Re: Fossils / evolution of cephs|fossil_finder|
I recently found a cephalopod fossil identified by the state of tn as being from the Ordovician Period. I live in an area of limestone that has all sorts of fossils. We recently came across this cephalopod that is over 4 feet long. It is a amazing thing to see the fossil of a creature who lived 438-505 Million Years Ago I have pictures if your interested. This is a new territory and was doing research on it when I came across your message. Any help on find any article of any other finds would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Fossils / evolution of cephs|sushigirl|
I would LOVE to see those pics!

Re: Fossils / evolution of cephs|phil_eyden|
Yes, please post these pictures. I'd love to see them!

Re: Fossils / evolution of cephs|tonmo|
Sure, email those pictures to me and I'll add it to the TONMO.com Photo Gallery, with your permission. Thanks -
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