Friday, August 17, 2012

Belemnite Sea Creature

A sea monster from Earth's ancient past!

Our Plastic Belemnite Replica

Our belemnite measures 6 1/2 inches in length from the tip of its tentacle-like arms to the top of its head; the lateral fins measure 2 1/4 inches. This sturdy, hand painted plastic belemnite is made in Germany and comes with an attached tag describing this and three other fossil sea animals. This tag is printed in English and German. Our belemnite is captured with its tentacle-like arms stretched outward in "speed mode." Notice the fleshy tube underneath the head between the piercing eyes. This tube or funnel is used to propel itself suddenly. The realistic tentacle-like arms show the series of hooks for holding prey. Our plastic belemnite will withstand school projects and playtime and show well as an educational toy or collectors item. See our collection of plastic fossil animals the way they looked in real life.

About Belemnites

Belemnites (or belemnoids) are an extinct group of marine cephalopod, very similar in many ways to the modern squid and closely related to the modern cuttlefish. Belemnites were around from the late Carboniferous to the end of the Cretaceous, a period spanning over 200,000,000 (200 million) years. Belemnites were similar in shape to squid. The body consisted of a torpedo-shaped head and ten arms. The head contained the shell and all internal organs. Paired lateral fins on the head were used for swimming and steering. Eight of the arms were adorned with curved hooks for grasping onto soft-bodied prey. The other two arms were equipped with suckers. As with squid, belemnites possessed a beaklike mouth for eating, and an ink sac. The inklike contents could be ejected into the water, creating a dense cloud that confused an attacker and allowed the belemnite to escape. As with squid, belemnites probably traveled in schools, dove to considerable depths, and occasionally suffered mass mortality that produced large numbers of fossils in a relatively small area.

Belemnites were aggressive, free-swimming, marine predators. They could swim slowly, propelled by a rhythmic beating of the lateral fins, or produce sudden bursts of speed through a jet-propulsion system. An area within the lower part of the head would fill with water and forcefully empty through a flexible fleshy tube called the funnel. This rapidly propelled the organism in the direction opposite to which the funnel was pointed. Generally they swam with head forward and arms trailing behind. Because belemnite eyes were located close to their arms they could not easily see where they were going. As with squid, rapidly swimming belemnites sometimes suffered damaging collisions, as evidenced by numerous fossils of broken shells that appear to have healed.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

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