Station: [3] Finds from the Cretaceous

M: These creatures once roamed the world’s oceans – they’re called ammonites. All that’s left of them now are these fossils in the shape of a spiral shell. Ammonites were molluscs, like today’s bivalves and gastropods – mussels and snails. They’re closely related to our modern octopuses. Although they were an exceptionally successful group of animals in geological terms, ammonites became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, some 65 million years ago – at the same time as the dinosaurs. The area around Lette has yielded some impressive fossilised ammonite specimens. 

F: When they were alive, these creatures had ten tentacles, which they used to prey on marine invertebrate called crinoids, tiny crustaceans known as ostracods, and even other ammonites. They’re actually called ammonite after the Egyptian god Amun. In the religion of the ancient Egyptians, he was a god of wind and of fertility. Amun was usually represented with the head of a ram. And if you look at the spiral ammonite shells, you can see the resemblance to a ram’s horn.

Fotos: © Heimatmuseum Lette