59. Fossil Genus Named for Canada (1922)

Fossil Genus Named for Canada

Ammonites are unusual marine cephalopod invertebrates. They reached their zenith during the Mesozoic Era and went extinct about 65 million years ago. Their relatives – the squids, octopus, and the Nautilus – still live in today’s oceans. Because of their distinctive shell structure and the fact that ammonite species evolved quickly and lasted for only short periods of geological time before going extinct, the different species are precise markers for different geological times. Paleontologists at the Geological Survey of Canada and around the world study and classify ammonites, and use them as indicators of geological time periods.

In 1857, American paleontologist Fielding Meek described an ammonite from the rocks of southeastern Vancouver Island near Komooks (now Comox) and named it Ammonites newberryanus after American geologist and explorer John Newberry. Sixty years later, British paleontologist Leonard Spath recognized that the Komooks fossils represented a unique group of ammonites, and, in 1922, he established the ammonite genus Canadoceras for these distinct Canadian fossils. Today, different species of Canadoceras have been found around the Pacific Rim, in Japan, Russia, Alaska, British Columbia, and California.

Category: Rocks, Fossils, Minerals and Meteorites

Decade: 1920s

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