Integrating 2D and 3D shell morphology to disentangle the palaeobiology of ammonoids: A virtual approach

  • We demonstrate, based on data derived from computed tomography, that integrating 2D and 3D morphological data of ammonoid shells represent an important new approach to disentangle the palaeobiology of ammonoids. Characterization of ammonite morphology has long been constrained to 2D data and only a few studies collect ontogenetic data in 180° steps. We combine this traditional approach with 3D data collected from high-resolution nano-computed tomography. For this approach, ontogenetic morphological data of the hollow shell of a juvenile ammonite Kosmoceras (Jurassic, Callovian) is collected. 2D data is collected in 10° steps and show significant changes in shell morphology. Preserved hollow spines show multiple mineralized membranes never reported before, representing temporal changes of the ammonoid mantle tissue. 3D data show that chamber volumes do not always increase exponentially, as was generally assumed, but may represent a proxy for life events, e.g. stress phases. Furthermore, chamber volume cannot be simply derived from septal spacing in forms comparable to Kosmoceras. Vogel numbers, a 3D parameter for chamber shape, of Kosmoceras are similar to other ammonoids (Arnsbergites, Amauroceras) and modern cephalopods (Nautilus, Spirula). Two methods to virtually document the suture line ontogeny, used to document phylogenetic relationships of larger taxonomic entities, were applied for the first time and seem a promising alternative to hand drawings. The curvature of the chamber surfaces increases during ontogeny due to increasing strength of ornamentation and septal complexity. As increasing curvature may allow for faster handling of cameral liquid, it could compensate for decreasing SA/V ratios through ontogeny.

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Author:René Hoffmann, Robert Lemanis, Janina Falkenberg, Steffen Schneider, Hendrik Wesendonk, Stefan Zachow
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):Palaeontology
Year of first publication:2017

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