The Ammonoidea are an extinct group of cephalopod molluscs; cousins to the modern squid, octopus and nautilus. Ammonoids are instantly recognisable by their iconic spiralled shells, which are ubiquitous in the marine fossil record from the early Devonian (400 million years ago) until the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (65 million years ago). Ammonoid diversity was reduced to a handful of lineages at several mass extinction events in the deep past, but the survivors radiated quickly into numerous species that often resembled their extinct ancestors in size and shape. They eventually went extinct in the same mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs.
They Ammonoid Palaeobiology Group at Bath University uses these enigmatic invertebrates to investigate important unresolved questions in evolutionary biology. We use integrated phylogenetic, morphometric and engineering methods to investigate the evolution and diversity of the ammonoid shell through geologic time in order to reveal whether there are intrinsic links between morphology, ecology, life history and susceptibility to extinction
Auth: T Astrop