Spirula living cousin extinct belemnite

Spirula living cousin extinct belemnite

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cephalopod (squid and allies) Spirula shell (spirula spirula) backlit and sectioned to show how the structure of partitions within the shell is reminiscent of the extinct ammonites and living nautiloids. Actually their closer relatives are the extinct belemites whose shell was represented by the chambered phragmocone. The shell, which is internal and hidden within the squid during life, is a buoyancy organ in the shape of a planispiral. They live, bioluminesent, in the deep ocean between 100 to 1000 metres and have seldom been observed alive. Their shells are often washed up on shores in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Canary Islands and South Africa, but may be found as far away as new Zealand.

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Keywords: ammonite, animal architecture, beach, beach combing, belemnite, cephalopod, extinct, fibonacci, living fossil, phragmocone, planispiral, shell, spiral, spirula, spirula spirula, squid

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