1. Amphiox says

    Given our modern Architeuthis and Mesonychoteuthis, I’d say they are well on their way to rising again.

    And perhaps they always have.

  2. blf says

    They are pictured next to their favourite foodstuff…
    who have stooopidly set the planet’s heating to the ice melt setting, making it more likely they (the food) will be underwater and hence easier to catch.

  3. johnniefurious says

    People knew how to wear suits back in the old days. Should have called it the Dapper Period.

  4. says

    Are you F’ing kidding me? Holy COW, eh, CEPHALOPOD! That is the coolest thing I’ve seen for a very long time.

    @ #7: Agreed, a woman would work just as well for scale.

  5. Artor says

    Why is the fossil nautiloid shown smaller than the one labeled, “lower size limit?” Did it shrink? Was it a baby giant nautiloid? Inquiring minds want to know!

  6. Artor says

    I followed the link and found out: The living chamber of the fossil shell had broken off, so it had another turn to the spiral in life. Zoiks!

  7. gussnarp says

    Is that legit? That is just bananas. I’ve heard a lot of theories about how and why terrestrial animals were often so much larger in the past, mostly having to do with oxygen availability, but I’m curious as to why these creatures would have been so much large then and evolved to be so much smaller today, given that we generally tend to think there’s not really a limit on size for fully aquatic animals like there is for terrestrial animals (hence the blue whale).

    I imagine it would likely have something to do with predators or prey, but the change is so drastic. I recall recent news suggesting a link between the decline of large sharks and the increase in large whales, and wondering why the researchers believed the link was causal from decline of sharks to increase of whales (in size), given other theories suggesting that terrestrial animals got large partly because size conferred protection from predators (as a layman, I didn’t delve deep enough to find the answer to that question).

    So what were nautiloids eating hundreds of millions of years ago and what was eating them? Did the food supply change?

  8. Trebuchet says

    Thank you SO much for reawakening my childhood nightmares. Many many years ago LIFE magazine had a whole series on prehistoric life and the pictures of these things horrified me. All those tentacles! And the eyes! Much later, as a grownup, I realized they were actually very small and nothing to be afraid of. Now you’re telling me they aren’t. I might not sleep tonight.

  9. says

    I had no idea they were huge. I always thought the ancient ones were roughly the same size as today’s. This changes everything!

    BTW, can the Cameroceras go into reverse and ram things?

  10. says

    Might be a result of the mass extinction. There is only one shelled cephalopod genus left, when they used to be very common. Teleosts/sharks got a jump on them during the recovery?

  11. Amphiox says


    IIRC, the K-P event took out the ammonites, just like it did the dinosaurs.

    (Per the bible, the Ammonites were exterminated by the Isrealites on god’s orders)

  12. azhael says

    Cameroceras definitely could go into reverse, in fact it was most probably the main direction of movement. I doubt they rammed themselves into things though…

  13. davidnangle says

    Here’s my elevator pitch: “Okay, time machine, collect some specimens, right? Man-made pond, seven feet deep, big walls all around, right? Water full of these things plus wading T-Rex and Spinosauri! Think of the ratings!”

  14. brucej says

    I was unaware that “Don Draper” was a recognized unit of measurement. How many square Don Drapers are there in one Rhode Island?

  15. Amphiox says

    The sizes I think are a little deceptive, though. The bulk of a shelled cephalopod’s body is found only in the first she’ll chamber, the other chambers are filled with gas for bouyancy. So over half the total volume of these critters are actually air.

  16. Tethys says


    So what were nautiloids eating hundreds of millions of years ago and what was eating them?

    Large body size is often correlated with cold temperatures. This was the apex predator back in the Ordovician oceans. They probably ate fish and the other giant critters that lived at that time. Giant trilobite Primeval lobsters Giant Sea Scorpion Also, cameroceras is a garbage can taxon for Ordovician orthoconic nautiloids. /pedant

  17. cactusren says

    @ gussnarp: Back in the Ordovician, I’m not sure whether anything was eating these giant ammonites. However, there is good evidence (in the form of tooth punctures through shells) that mosasaurs fed on ammonites in the Cretaceous.

  18. fleetfootphilo says

    What’s the largest current cephalopod?

    (you’re just going to tell me to google it)

  19. David Marjanović says

    *sigh* Diversity, people. Diversity. Cephalopods have always been highly diverse in the last 500 million years, and so have their sizes; small cephalopods have always been plentiful since then.

    Also, Parapuzosia is not a nautiloid, it’s an ammonite – meaning it’s more closely related to squid + cuttlefish + octopuzzesses than to Nautilus. There weren’t any ammonoids in the Ordovician.

    In the Late Cretaceous, normal-sized ammonites were eaten by mosasaurs (some of which reached lengths of 17 m) and giant turtles at least.

  20. Dark Jaguar says

    You know, I’m not sure to feel sorry for silhouette guy or to be incredibly impressed. That guy seems to find himself obliviously standing next to all sorts of horrific monsters.