December 11th

Box #11 in our count down is Lobolytoceras…

Days 1-5 of the count down.
Days 6-10 in the count down
Days 11-15 of the count down
Days 16-20 of the count down
Days 21-25 of the count down
Lobolytoceras, an ammonite from Jurassic Germany

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?

2 thoughts on “December 11th

  1. Thanks for introducing me to a prehistoric creature I had previously not known of. Like I was saying about the Coroniceras post, specific ammonites need more proper attention. I’d even say that proper explanations of name meanings for new genera need to be given.
    As for my choice of creature for December 11, I will go for Pterodaustro, a distinct-looking pterosaur from the early Cretaceous of Argentina and Chile. With over 750 specimens known since its discovery back in the later 1960s, Pterodaustro is one of the best known pterosaurs, with examples of all growth stages present. It is most well-known for its bristle-like teeth, which have yet to be found on any other pterosaur as of now. These teeth, which were originally though to not be true teeth at all, are thought to have been used to strain small aquatic life from the water; a method known as “filter-feeding.” You’ve previously mentioned how Anurognathus fill the nice of bats during its time and how Gnathosaurus lived its life similar to the modern-day spoonbill. Pterodaustro here also filled the ecological role of a modern-day flying animal, and in its case, it was the flamingo, albeit in a slightly different way. In addition to its teeth, Pterodaustro also had what appear to adaptations for swimming, such as a long torso and enormous, splayed hind feet. There is a lot more to Pterodaustro that I could cover, but for now, this is the important information about it.


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