Two paleoctopi and a something???


Pygmy Octopus
Nov 9, 2007
Hello everyone!

Recently I acquired a few new pieces while expanding my collection. Two are paleoctopus species I think, and one may be a paleoctopus but looks kinda wierd. I'd appreciate any input into the identification, especially of the third one. All are from Hakel, Lebanon, upper cretaceous, about 90 million years old. Note that there is no restoration or coloring, all is natural. (If this page takes too long to load, go here: )

Paleoctopus-1: I'm pretty sure this is a paleoctopus, right?

Paleoctopus-2: Very nice split pair with tentacles!

And the wierd unidentified thing, it looks like a paleoctopus or maybe a squid, but there's a big spherical part on the body which may make it something more octopus related... or something. I could use some opinions on the identification of it.

Thanks in advance for any help!
Ah, could be a bivalve, let me check with the quarry owner to see how common bivalves are.

Although, looking at it closely, you can see the soft body impressions of the squid all the way around the spherical thing. Are there any squids or octopi shaped like that???


take care,
It also may be a small concretion that formed a few layers above the fossil and deformed the rock and fossil later. Whatever it was looks like it crushed the end of the ceph under and just kinda spread it out a little.

I dont think there is anything alive with a spherical shaped posterior like that. It would be amazing if the ceph was actually shaped like that. :shock:
Ah, that could very well be, I'll have to ask the original finder what the other half looks like.

Ya, I'd like to think it's something unique... it's very well centered for a coincidental concretion, hehe...
Checked with the original finder, apparently it was a perfect chert nodule that just happened to be in the right place.

Oh well, for a second there I thought I had a different species of octopi! Now back to the search for another one!

Thanks for your help Kevin!
Greetings! Apologies for my protracted absence around these parts recently.

These are absolutely beautiful fossils veomega, and thank you very much for joining and showing us these amazing purchases.

I must be frank, to be honest I don’t think the first two fossils are Paleoctopus. I’ve made two quick drawings below which I can see very much what appears to me to be a gladius of a ‘fossil teuthid’ of some description rather than an octopod.

The structure visible in the first two images really does resemble a classic ‘pen’ or gladius that would have provided the animal with internal support, much akin to some squid. A posterior conus also appears to be evident. The gladius in Paleoctopus did not resemble this; it had been reduced so much that it resembled two half-moon shaped ‘wings’ with no central stiffening support linking the two.

In your second amazing image depicting the head and arms of the animal, the gladius appears to have become slightly detached from the animal at the head end and is drifting free whilst still attached at the tail. Nonetheless, a clear division between the mantle and head seems visible – the whole animal simply looks much more like a squid than an octopus. As for the form I don’t know. It could be Trachyteuthis, but the gladius seems slightly too narrow. I would place a very hesitant bet on a vampyromorph gladius of some description.

Now please remember this is just my opinion, nothing more, the number of Paleoctopus I have seen in the flesh is zero. Still, it matters not even if I am right. After all these fossils are absolutely exceptional and I for one would be proud to own them whether they be Trachyteuthis or Paleoctopus.


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Thanks Phil!

That helps a lot! According to my friend, about 99% of all squid or octopi shaped fossils from lebanon are called Paleoctopus... Ya, Trachyteuthis definitely works here!

Did I mention they flouresce a light green under longwave and shortwave UV?


I think I might place one in marketplace later on since I need to raise money to acquire a few more specimens. Thanks for all your help!
Dear vaomega

as was mentioned by Phil, your fossils don't belong to Paleoctopus. But by the presence of well-developed rachis, narrow gladius and absence of the cuttlebone-like tubercles typical for Trachiteuthis. So, I suppose these fossils are belongs to Plesioteuthidae, resembling Dorateuthis (see description of this coleoid in: Lukeneder, A., Harzhauser, M. (2004): The Cretaceous coleoid Dorateuthis syriaca Woodward: morpholgy, feeding habits and phylogenetic implications. - Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien, 106A, 213-225, Wien., pdf)
are especially close to Rachiteuthis, genus, introduced by Dirk Fuchs for coleoids from the same locality.
I have pdf-version of the latter paper (Fuchs, D. (2006). Diversity, Taxonomy and Morphology of vampyropod Coleoids (Cephalopoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of Lebanon. Memorie Società Italiana di Scienze Naturali, Museo di Storia Naturale Milano 34 (2): 1-28.) and may send it to everyone who interesting in such matter
:welcome: mhorn,

Thank you for the link to the Dorateuthis paper. There seems to be a lot more described coleoids from Lebanon than I assumed there was.:oops: Makes me wonder why if there are all those Cretaceous Coleoids preserved there isnt an ammonoid or two in with them. Is it just a habitat bias?
:welcome: to TONMO, and I second Architeuthoceras on curiosity about ammonite soft tissues... what is it about ammonites that has kept us from ever seeing preserved soft tissue like these fossil coleoida? I'd think that they would be easier to find, since a coleoid just looks like a splotch, but an ammonite shell draws one's attention, and so one would notice the adjacent body.
Huh, good point. The original site owner says that ammonites are very rare, and they've never found any soft body preservation. So, same conditions, but the coleoids preserve but ammonite soft body doesn't...

Could it be the ammonites tuck back into their shells before they die? Or that decomposition causes gases to fill the shells and that causes them to float to the surface after they die, resulting in no preservation of soft body under sediments?

Just my random speculation...
Architeuthoceras;110785 said:
:welcome: mhorn,
Makes me wonder why if there are all those Cretaceous Coleoids preserved there isnt an ammonoid or two in with them. Is it just a habitat bias?

The same with other Mesozoic 'Lagerstattes' rich in fossil coleoids, such as Holzmaden, Nusplingen, Solnhofen... There are numerous remains of fossilized coleoid soft tissues, there are no those of ammonoids...
Perhaps ammonite shell prevent fossilization, as well as in case of other shelly cephalopods and gastropods

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