August 18, 2009
OK, so this doesn’t have anything to do with Cthulhu Week, but I thought this story was cool enough to break protocol.
Paleontologists in the UK have discovered a fossilized cephalopod so well preserved that the creature’s ink sac was still intact. In fact, scientists were able to extract a portion of the ink and use it to draw a picture of what the creature looked like when alive!
The 150 million year old fossil of Belemnotheutis antiquus was found in a recently rediscovered dig site in north Wiltshire that was first excavated during Victorian times. The excavation was lead by Dr. Phil Wilby, and was sponsored by the British Geological Survey and the Curry Fund.
B. antiquus was a belemnite, an extinct form of cephalopod closely related to modern squid and cuttlefish. Belemnites were abundant during the later part of the Mesozoic Era, but they went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period. They resembled living squids, although they had ten hook-lined arms of equal length (no feeding tentacles) and an internal shell which protected the rear portions of the animial. This “guard” is usually the only part of a belemnite to become fossilized.