Box #11 in our count down is Lobolytoceras…
Lobolytoceras: the “Simple Curved Lobe”
Lobolytoceras was an ammonite originally known from Early Jurassic Germany, but in 2008 a paper described a species 2ft in diameter from Late Jurassic Madagascar. This “giant” Lobolytoceras was a great example of how just one fossil can make a huge difference in how we understand the creatures in the fossil record.
Lobolytoceras was rather simple compared to the ridges and spikes that decorated the shells of other ammonites. The coil only has a bit of a wrinkled texture, which grows a little more rippled and rough as it gets closer to the chamber the squid-like animal lived in. Perhaps this simplicity is what the name referred to, though I am not exactly sure since I couldn’t find any official translation for the name. The best I could do was find a dictionary in Ancient Greek and figure it out from there.
Lobos means a lobe, which is basically any sort of projection or rounded part of an object, like an ear lobe or one of the lobes of the brain. Litos (like Cheetos) means something simple, unadorned, and should not be confused with lithos, which means something made of stone. I couldn’t find any word spelled lytos in ancient Greek, so if someone else knows, I’d love to hear from you! Ceras means a curved horn, but can also describe any other curved object. Maybe Lobolytoceras is a complicated and pretty way to basically say it looks a little like an ear.
Who knew one could get a language lesson from fossils?