The remains of an extinct killer shellfish accidentally discovered in the museum’s vault

In the basement of the Australian Museum, fossils of a huge mollusk Endoceras, which lived in the ocean 460 million years ago, were accidentally found.

Endoceras is a genus of extinct giant cephalopods. They sailed in the seas of the Earth during the Ordovician period. Previously, scientists discovered their fossils in Bolivia, Greenland, Iran, Canada, China, Malaysia, Norway, Russia, USA, France, Czech Republic, Sweden, Estonia, South Korea. In Russia, endocerus fossils are found, in particular, in the canyon of the Lava River in the Leningrad region.

During an inventory at the Darwin Museum in Australia, senior curator Adam Yates discovered a 460 million-year-old fossil fragment of a huge killer clam.

“This particular fossil was found in the basement of an old premise where the collection was temporarily stored for years before we finally moved to a new museum at Megafauna Central in downtown Alice Springs,” notes the museum’s curator. It was only on closer examination that Dr. Yates realized the importance of this specimen.

It is noted that the fossil, which is in the museum, is only a part of the entire creature. During life, the animal reached 2.5 meters in length. These were very large animals for their time: adults reached 8 m in length. Endoceras were giant predators that preyed on trilobites and crustaceans. They were active animals that developed high speed in the water column.

The type species, Endoceras proteiforme, was described in 1847. Endoceras were very similar to their closest relative, Cameroceras hennepini, from which they differed mainly in their smaller size. These animals belong to the Endoceratidae family. The Endoceras resembled the later belemnites, but were much larger.

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Alexandr Ivanov earned his Licentiate Engineer in Systems and Computer Engineering from the Free International University of Moldova. Since 2013, Alexandr has been working as a freelance web programmer.
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