Buoyancy and Hydrodynamics in Ammonoids

  • David K. Jacobs
  • John A. ChamberlainJr.
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 13)


Information pertaining to the function of ammonoid shells is generated by analogy to living cephalopods, by measurement or experiment designed to elucidate the properties of the ammonoid shell in life situations, and by examination of the distribution and sedimentary environments in which ammonoid fossils are preserved. Virtually all discussions of ammonoid shell function implicitly or explicitly incorporate more than one of these approaches. The combination of analogy with empirical work in the field and laboratory makes the reconstruction of the function of ammonoid shells and interpretation of ammonoid life habits and mode of life particularly intriguing. These interpretations have led to many lively debates among paleobiologists. In this chapter, we examine ammonoid buoyancy and locomotion. We evaluate arguments that have been used to reconstruct the buoyancy and locomotor properties of these extinct cephalopods, discuss recent advances in the understanding of ammonoid locomotion, and suggest directions in which the study of these aspects of ammonoid paleobiology may proceed in the future. Other chapters of this book explore aspects of the structural issues pertaining to the implosion strength of ammonoid shells (Hewitt, Chapter 10, this volume) as well as the environmental information that can be brought to bear on the subject (Westermann, Chapter 16, this volume).


Swimming Velocity Shell Shape Muscle Scar Neutral Buoyancy Body Chamber 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • David K. Jacobs
    • 1
  • John A. ChamberlainJr.
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeologyBrooklyn College, City University of New YorkBrooklynUSA

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