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Ammonites are much more closely related to modern octopi, squid and cuttlefish than the Nautilus species alive today. Ammonites are important to paleontologists as they are used as “Index Fossils.” By studying the ammonites in a fossil layer, they are able to date the layer to a specific geological time period.
The name “ammonite” has a fascinating history. Pliny the Elder, a 1st Century famous Roman author, naturalist and philosopher, as well as a military commander of the early Roman Empire, noted that the delicately spiraling fossils resembled the tight coils of rams’ horns. He named these beautiful, long-fossilized animals ammonis cornua – the “Horns of Ammon” - because the Egyptian god Ammon (Amun) wears rams’ horns. The ammonite in your new treasure jewelry is an authentic artifact from a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
A fossil is the prehistoric remains of a plant or animal. Most fossils are created when a plant or animal is buried under layer after layer of sand and mud. Under the massive pressure of hundreds of thousands of years these layers become sedimentary rock. Minerals from the rock seep into the plant or animal, replacing them with a perfect replica in stone.
Fossils come in all shapes and sizes – they are as varied as the plants or animals they once were. The largest are dinosaur bones (which may be ten or more feet in length for a single bone) and the smallest are plant spores only a few hundredths of an inch across.
Fossils are found all over the world. As the wind and rain erode hillsides, fossils become visible, and scientists can find and study them. Removal of fossils from the rock is done very carefully to preserve the beauty and detail of the specimen.
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