GONIATITES HEART DISH

GONIATITES HEART DISH

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People have been collecting Goniatites for thousands of years. Their name "Goniatites" means 'angle stone' because of the zigzag marks on their shells.

These growth lines or "sutures" appeared as the Goniatite got bigger.

They rarely exceed 4 or 5 centimetres and always had a smooth, globular (sphere-shaped) shell with a small, clear "umbilicus", or depression, at the centre.

Every year the Goniatite would build itself a new chamber that the boneless invertebrate animal would then move into at the front of its shell... so it could stick out to swim and catch food - or hide inside.

The animal itself looked a bit like a small squid or octopus. They were like prehistoric sub-marines. Using gas pressure inside the old, empty chambers of their shell, Goniatites could rise or sink easily. This is called 'neutral buoyancy'... and it was very handy for catching food and not being caught.

Goniatites lived for about 250 million years during the Palaeozoic Era (540-250 million years ago) and have been found all over the world including North America, Asia and Australia too.

 

From Morocco 

10cm x 11cm