The Goniatite is an extinct cephalopod that lived 390 to 251 million years ago. Goniatites became extinct at the end of the Permian period in a mass extinction event called the Great Permian extinction. In this event, 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial species became extinct.
Its closest living relative is the octopus, squid or cuttlefish, not the nautilus as one might think. The Goniatite was free-swimming, had a head, two eyes, and tentacles. They possessed an external shell divided internally by chambers, called septa, that held trapped air used to adjust buoyancy. As the animal grew, it would move forward creating new septa behind it. Narrow, wavy lines suture lines in a zig-zag pattern formed where the septa came into contact with the outer shell. The pattern of the line is used to distinguish species of fossilized cephalopods. In the same sub-class, the Goniatite pre-dates the Ammonite by approximately 50 million years.
Our fossilized specimens are from the Atlas Mountain Range in Morocco. Encapsulated in black marble, the white, cream, or grey markings are that of the animal's shell. If you look closely, some specimens contain remnants of other marine life as well. Miners shape and polish the marble to highlight and accentuate the fossilized remains. Each piece features a flared bottom, allowing you the ability to stand your Goniatite upright serving as a unique way to display your fossil.
The specimens measure 1-1/2 to 2-1/2" in diameter. Many have been restored to keep the specimen intact. Given the intense process of shaping, grinding, and polishing these fossils, invariably some are damaged during the process and are bonded back together.
Each specimen is unique and the photographs are of representative pieces, intended to show the variations among specimens. We will select a specimen for you. Contact us before placing your order if you would like to select your specific piece. We will send you a photograph of available specimens so you can select your preferred piece.
With each fossil purchased, we will provide you with a small identification slip to keep with your specimen.