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CMNH 2251, Cephalopoda
Age: Late Cretaceous (early Campanian-early Masstrichtian) Rock unit: Pierre Shale
Locality: United States of America
Cephalopods are extant (living) marine mollusks characterized by tentacles attached to a cone-shaped body. The name cephalopod comes directly from the Greek kephalopoda, “head-feet.” Most fossil cephalopods formed a calcareous (made of calcium carbonate) shell around their conical body. The shell may be straight (orthoconic), curved (cyrtoconic), or coiled. As the cephalopod grows, the shell is sectioned and sealed into increasingly large chambers, with the cephalopod remaining connected by soft tissue in a thin tube called the siphuncle. Many cephalopods live today, including cuttlefish, squid, and octopus, but only the nautilus maintains the coiled shell. (David and Mapes 1996, “Phylum Mollusca, Class Cephalopoda”). Specimen’s diameter: 7.2 cm.