Ammonites are relatives of creatures like octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish. Ammonites moved by jet propulsion, expelling water through a funnel-like opening to propel themselves in the opposite direction. Much of the ammonites life was spent in shallow waters, and their shells were decorated by an array of patterns, indicating that colour & good light played a large part in their lives. Colour and good light play an important part in my life too, of course, being a photographer. Speaking of photography, did you know the opening of the ammonites shell is called the aperture?
Ammonites were the predators of their time, feeding on most living marine creatures like molluscs, fish, and even their own relatives. They silently stalked their prey, then rapidly extended their tentacles to grasp the target. Once caught the prey would be devoured by the ammonites powerful jaws, located at the base of the tentacles, between the eyes. The average ammonites lived for only two years and grew to be a foot long, but the entire species died off along with Earth’s final dinosaurs 66 million years ago. (This was the Cretaceous period, for those curious, so along with Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor, & Triceratops.)
Upon death the ammonites drifted slowly to the sea floor and were gradually buried in accumulating sand and mud, preserving their accumulative presence on Earth as fossils. Skeletons of a time long passed, and a gentle reminder that we are not the first or only creatures to exist, nor will we be the last, and our time here is short.