Fun Ammonite Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 20, 2022 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Sep 29, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Amazing Ammonite facts that you won't believe exist.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.1 Min

Ammonites were animals who were shelled cephalopods that lived million years ago and died about 66 million years ago. Their fossils are still found in the world even in this time period and in large concentrations.

Earlier, their species were understood to be snakes and were named snakestone but it was later realized that these species were not reptiles and were actually ocean-dwelling mollusks, specifically cephalopods.

Zoo Hughes, who was the Curator of Fossil Invertebrates, discovered that these Ammonites have a chambered shell that they used for buoyancy.

This group of cephalopods was divided into three groups known as squids, octopuses, and cuttlefishes which also included nautiloids (the nautiluses) and Ammonites. They had a large population in the Triassic period and some specimens that survived in that period can be seen in the Natural History Museum.

The species of Ammonites were born with shells around them and as they started to grow, they built a new chamber onto it. They shifted their whole body into the new chamber and sealed off their old and now too-small living quarters with walls known as septa.

The Ammonite shell shape was a loose spiral and tightly curled, with whorls touching and are flat or helical.

There is a species called Nipponites mirabilis found in Japan which looks like a knot. When they coiled, it served as a protective structure enabling the animal to compensate for living at varying water depths.

To know more interesting facts about other pre-historic animals, you can also check out these Rahonavis and Brachauchenius.

Ammonite Interesting Facts

Was the Ammonite a dinosaur?

Ammonites are animals found in the water. They can be called marine animals that used to live million years ago and died 66 million years ago.

They belong to the phylum Mollusca and the class Cephalopoda of the subclass Ammonoidea and they were creatures that were first seen 450 million years ago in the Cretaceous period. Their shell looks similar to the modern nautilus whereas if compared to other marine animals like octopus, squid, and cuttlefish, their shells are small or sometimes absent.

How do you pronounce 'Ammonite'?

Ammonite is pronounced as 'a -muh- nite', and there are many ways it can be pronounced. It means a marine animal of subclass (Ammonoidea) of extinct cephalopods that became abundant in the Mesozoic period which are classified based on flat spiral shells with septa dividing the interior into chambers.

What type of prehistoric animal was an Ammonite?

Ammonites also called Ammonoids came into existence during the Devonian period, which began about 416 million years ago. These species of Ammonite fossils ruled the planet for more than 300 million years ago and lived for longer than most dinosaurs. They became extinct 66 million years ago according to research done on on an Ammonite fossil.

In which geological period did the Ammonite live?

Ammonites lived on Earth during the Jurassic period or the Cretaceous period that represented a time interval of about 140 million years. Ammonites became abundant in the Mesozoic period. Ammonites free-floated in the water, with their tentacles protruding from their shells.

When did the Ammonite become extinct?

Ammonites became extinct 66 million years ago, most of them died out at the same time as non-avian dinosaurs.

During the final days of the Cretaceous, a 7.5 mi (12.07 km) wide asteroid slammed into Earth and killed around half of the species. They are not rare but are one of the most popular and widely collected fossils by amateur fossil hunters and these marks are rare in the records of fossils.

The species is rare and has an iridescent, gem-quality material which is extracted from fossilized Ammonite shells that became extinct in this time.

Where did an Ammonite live?

As seen in their modern-day cephalopod relations, the distribution of Ammonites was found all over the world and it was an exclusively ocean-dwelling animal. They can be found in shallower seas, at a depth range of up to 1312.34 ft (400 m).

Ammonite fossils lived 240-65 million years ago in the seas and faced an extinction event similar to dinosaurs.

They lived during the Cretaceous period which was about 66 million years ago. Their fossils can be found all over the world and some of the specimens are related to Antarctica which is well known for its Ammonite fossil sites.

What was an Ammonite's habitat?

They were mostly found in sea-related areas in almost every part of the planet but, a large majority of the species resided in Antarctica where Ammonite fossils can also be found. These species could grow up to 6.56 ft (2 m) long and are known for their paperclip-shaped, uncoiled shell.

Ammonite crabs are found on the most northern beaches of Fossil Island and mainly in the northern Wyvern Cave.

Who did an Ammonite live with?

Ammonites can be found in groups as well as on their own. They became extinct at the same time as dinosaurs.

According to science, their living pattern reveals that the modern nautilus is their closest relative. These animals are of phylum Mollusca and class Cephalopoda with rapid evolution and have really soft bodies with covered shells. They form colonies which are also called Ammonite colonies.

How long did an Ammonite live?

Ammonites are said to have had a lifespan of at least four to five years. This group of subclass Ammonoidea was first found about 450 million years ago. Ammonitida is an exclusive group of so-called Ammonoidea which are also called Ammonites and are known from the Jurassic period which was about 200 million years ago.

How did they reproduce?

They reproduced in a different pattern and their reproduction commenced at the end of their life by producing large quantities of eggs in a single batch or group. The eggs floated on the surface with the planktons.

The adult Ammonites would then have met their demise. Ammonites are formed as a result of the animal's remains or traces being buried in sediment, which later solidified into rock.

They were marine mammals that had a similar coil-like shell like a nautilus. An Ammonite crab would have become unaggressive after 10 minutes of combat.

Ammonite Fun Facts

What did an Ammonite look like?

Some Ammonites had long, straight shells, while others had helix-shaped shells. Most of the species were covered with coiled shells and had large-sized chambers separated by thin walls called septa.

They were round in shape and grew new shell material patterns and shapes as they grew older in their life. The group of Ammonoids had a very complex suture pattern and specimens with this simple suture pattern are called goniatite.

An Ammonite fossil can be gray to brown in color, sometimes even radiant blue. Ammonites are very hard. They became abundant in the Triassic period and some specimens survived that period.

They had the ability to change shape and create shells. They lacked backbones and growth lines, and reached a total body length of 9 in (23 cm).

There are also other larger kinds, measuring 20.86 in (53 cm) in diameter. They were believed to have resembled a glass snail.

Ammonites had a strong shell covering.

How many bones did an Ammonite have?

Their shell coiled in a tight spiral and they could straighten it out during later growth phases. Some Ammonites were straight, while others were round and they could change shape as they grew older in their life.

They were members of the animal kingdom. They lacked backbones and growth lines, meaning they were invertebrates. They had the ability to change shapes and create shells.

How did they communicate?

The exact communication process is unknown of this creature that could create spiral shape forms is unknown.

How big was an Ammonite?

They had a total body length range of about 9 in (23 cm), which is similar to the size of a sea slug.

How fast could an Ammonite move?

They could move and swim at a good speed under water because of their thin, tube-like structure called a siphuncle pumped air.

How much did an Ammonite weigh?

Ammonites can weigh up to 220.46 lb (100 kg), which is 20 times bigger than hourglass dolphins.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and female Ammonites. Therefore they are called male Ammonites and female Ammonites. All ancient cephalopods were carnivores that used to catch food using different patterns, tearing their prey using their tentacles. They also had a strong beak for a mouth, like a parrot.

What would you call a baby Ammonite?

A baby Ammonite is called a juvenile or a young Ammonite. There is evidence that they fed on zooplankton.

What did they eat?

According to the information from the Natural History Museum, they used to feed on crustaceans like crabs, lobster, bivalves, and fish. Smaller species would probably have eaten plankton too. Some predators include crustaceans, nautiloids, dibranch cephalopods (squids and cuttlefish), and Ammonites themselves. There is evidence that they fed on zooplankton.

How aggressive were they?

Ammonites were not aggressive but it was known. They lived throughout the age of dinosaurs and they can be found different forms.

Did you know...

Opalized Ammonite is a type of Ammonite fossil which is an opal-like organic gemstone that was found in ancient times in North America and Madagascar. These Ammonite shells are formed of the fossilized shells of Ammonites and the microstructure of the mineral is inherited from the shell.

Few specimens survived during the Cretaceous period when almost every species became extinct. They lived throughout the age of dinosaurs.

Where were Ammonite fossils found and why?

Ammonite fossils, the group of cephalopods (of the phylum Mollusca) which were almost near extinction, are related to modern nautilus with a range in marine rocks dating from the Devonian Period and ended in the Cretaceous period. They become fully extinct and died in Middle Europe as many thought Ammonites were snakes.

How are Ammonite fossils formed?

Ammonites are identified through different and more complex patterns. They are characterized by highly folded ancient sutures which are called ceratite which were replaced by the goniatites and became most abundant in the Triassic period, after the extinction of these animals which was also during the Jurassic period.

When the remains or traces of the animal were buried by sediments that later solidified into rock, Ammonite fossils were formed.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Teleosaurus fun facts and Harpactognathus facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Ammonite coloring page.

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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