October 26, 2011

Did you ever go to the beach and buy a plastic beach shovel for digging in the sand? A 6-year-old British girl named Emily Baldry took her beach shovel on an archeological trip with her family, and used it to dig up a 160-million year old fossil!

The 130-pound fossil that Emily found is called an ammonite. These now-extinct animals were soft-bodied invertebrates (animals without backbones) that lived inside a circular shell. They had long tentacles, well-developed eyes, and a sharp beaklike jaw. 

Ammonites lived during the periods of Earth history known as the Jurassic and Cretaceous, and disappeared at about the same time as the dinosaurs. Their closest modern relatives are the octopus and the squid.

The curled shell, which looks something like the horns of a ram, inspired the ammonite’s name. When these fossils were first discovered, in ancient times, they were named after the Egyptian god Ammon (or Amun), who was usually drawn with rams’ horns on his head.


Photo: SWNS

Graphic: MMVII NGHT, Inc.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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