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By Monks N., Palmer P.

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Extra info for Ammonites. London: The Natiral History Museum. 159 p

Example text

Right: In many species of ammonites, the aperture appears to have pointed more or less upwards. - - Z Z AMMONITES plate 1: The shell of the nautiloid Nautilus pompilius sectioned to show body chamber, septa and siphuncle.

Able to float is useless if the animal cannot swim properly, catch its food, or see its enemies. In other words, it must be oriented properly. The orientation of a floating object depends on the relative positions of the centre of mass and the centre of buoyancy. Normally an object will float with the centre of mass vertically below the centre of buoyancy. It is easy to imagine this if one considers a hot-air balloon. The basket in which the passengers stand - the gondola - is much the heaviest part of the whole structure, so the centre of mass of a hot-air balloon can be assumed to be in the gondola.

While they are not known any earlier than the early Jurassic, none are known after the end of the Cretaceous. This is when the ammonites died out, which seems to support the view that aptychi are specific to ammonites. Anaptychi are known from much older rocks, as old as late Devonian in age, and have been found in ammonites such as Eoasianites, Psiloceras, Eoderoceras and Lytoceras. Sometimes the individual parts of aptychi are found without being associated with an ammonite, and since the pIates of aptychi are very bivalve-like, with concentric ridges around a point of origin, they were first described as bivalves.

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