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Cephalopods

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(35 total)

Hoploscaphites nicolletti
Hoploscaphites nicolletti
© 2005 The Virtual Fossil Museum

Pachydiscus catarinae
Pachydiscus catarinae
© 2009 Ana Luisa Carreno

Muensteroceras parallelum
Muensteroceras parallelum
© 1998 Dr. Richard Paselk, Humboldt State University Natural History Museum

What are Cephalopods? Cephalopods, meaning “head foot,” have a foot that has been modified into flexible arms and a tube (siphon), as well as highly developed eyes and nervous systems. They can move backwards rapidly by expelling water through the siphon. Some members of this group, such as the living Nautilus and the extinct ammonites, have external shells. These shells are divided into chambers, and the cephalopod only lives in the last, largest chamber. Squid, cuttlefish, and extinct forms like belemnites, have internal shells, many of which are also chambered. Octopuses have no shells. Members of this group first appear in the Devonian, and some members are still around today.

First known fossil occurrence: Cambrian.

Last known fossil occurrence: Quaternary. This group has living relatives.

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