The Largest Ammonite Ever Found

The largest ammonite fossil ever found is a specimen of the species Parapuzosia seppenradensis. It was discovered in Germany in 1895 and measures 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) in diameter.

Parapuzosia seppenradensis is the largest known species of ammonite. It lived during the Late Cretaceous period. A specimen found in Germany in 1895 measures 1.8 m (5.9 ft) in diameter, although the living chamber is incomplete. It is estimated that if complete, this specimen would have had a diameter of approximately 2.55 m (8.4 ft) or even 3.5 m (11 ft).The total live mass has been estimated at 1,455 kg (3,210 lb), of which the shell would constitute 705 kg (1,550 lb).

Ammonites were very successful animals, and they existed for over 300 million years. They were a major part of the marine ecosystem, and they played an important role in the food chain. However, they went extinct along with the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period.

They are main index fossils, and it is often possible to link the rock layer in which they are found to specific geological time periods. About 30.000 - 40.000 species are assumed. Therefore the ammonites are very importent for geology.

The Largest Ammonite Ever Found
Parapuzosia seppenradensis, biggest known ammonite, diameter 1.80 m.

Ammonites are an extinct group of marine animals belonging to the cephalopod subclass Ammonoidea. They lives from the Devonian until Late Cretaceous (417 - 65 million years ago) all over the world. Today living near relatives are coleoids, squid, octopus, and cuttlefish. Their name came from their spiral shape somewhat resemble tightly-coiled rams horns like the egyptian godhood Ammon.

The soft body of the creature occupied the largest segments of the shell at the end of the coil. The smaller earlier segments were walled off and the animal could maintain its buoyancy by filling them with gas. The shifting achieve by repulsion power.

Many replicas of this Ammonite are standing in various museum around the world and in the town, where it was found (Seppenrade, near Münster, North Germany). The original is standing in the foyer of the "LWL-Museum für Naturkunde" in Münster (the coordinate of this cache) and it´s the logo of the museum.

The Largest Ammonite Ever Found
Parapuzosia seppenradensis, biggest known ammonite, diameter 1.80 m. stands in the LWL-Museum of Natural History in Münster

Ammonites make excellent guide fossils for stratigraphy because

  • They evolved rapidly so that each ammonite species has a relatively short life span  
  • They are found in many types of marine sedimentary rocks
  • They are relatively common and reasonably easy to identify
  • They have a worldwide geographical distribution
  • The rapidity of ammonite evolution is the single most important reason for their superiority over other fossils for the purposes of correlation. Such correlation can be on a worldwide scale.
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