ANCIENT SQUID CREATURES WITH PAPERCLIP SHELL LIVED OVER 200 YEARS
The ancient squid-like creature which existed 68 million years ago was known for its 1.5-metre-long shell resembling a paperclip.
Linda Ivany, a researcher at Syracuse University in New York, spoke about the creature’s size, "It’s hard not to be entranced. It’s as tall as I am."
Although scientists have long been aware of the squid’s impressive length and size, they were still to discover more about its biology, including the animal’s lifespan.
Scientist discovered that the ancient squid, whose scientific name is Diplomoceras maximum, had a lifespan of 200 years. The animal was an ammonite, a sub-group of extinct cephalopods.
The D. maximum was recorded to live in the waters around Antarctica. The species' population suffered a mass extinction around the same time as the dinosaurs.
After analysing samples taken from a half-metre section of one animal’s shell, Ivany and her colleague, Emily Artruc, discovered that the D. maximum lived for hundreds of years. After further research the pair found a pattern in the shell’s isotopes, which is linked to the release of methane each year from the seabed. As a result, they concluded that each new structural ridge of the shell indicates a year of life and, therefore, then came to the conclusion that the D. Maximum lived for hundreds of years.
Ivany stated that "These shells grow by accretion, adding a new increment annually".
Even seeing that some modern shellfish do live beyond 200 years, the estimated lifespan of the ancient cephalopod is much more unusual due to that fact that its modern relatives, the octopuses, only live for under five years.
The research was presented last week to an online conference which was organised and run by the Geological Society of America. The GSA will allow academics to further study more about the ancient creature’s ecology.