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Re: Ammonite colouration (was Re: SVP Preview)

Hello All   

    I've been lurking on this list for a loooong time, but haven't posted
anything for a couple of years at least.  (We've been building a timberframe
home in Northern Colorado.)

   Yeah, yeah I know it isn't about dinosaurs, but I'm just an old Marine
Biologist turned Sculptor and I'm responding to this post about Ammonites.
I figure if I'm going to jump in here I'd better post something I know
something about.  I am facinated by and I've been sculpting Dinosaurs as
well, and I've learned a lot by lurking on this list.  (I'm sculpting
Coelacanths, Pterosaurs and Pleistocine  Mammals too among other things)

     I've seen some beautiful Ammonites recently, at the Black Hills
Institute and other places and they seem to come in a wide variety of colors
including red.  But the most striking thing about them is that some of them
retain the pearlesence or mother of pearl quality as well as the bright
colors.  As for the flesh of modern cephalopods, it's true, there is no
pigment in the flesh itself.  However Cephalopods have cells within the
tissue called chromataphores and these contain pigments.  The animal can
constrict or expand these chromataphores thereby changing the color of the
animal instantly.  This seems to be connected with the emothinal state of
the animal; fear, rage, lust, contentment, etc.  I'm sure you've seen
octopus go from deep red to blanch and back to the color of the substrate.
Squid can ripple with color  and cuttlefish can match their background so
quickly that they seem to dissappear in front of your eyes.   So I wouldn't
be suprised if Ammonites had this capability too, although it's impossible
to know since this all takes place within the soft tissue.  -  Bill Hunt

Bill & Rebecca Hunt
Hunt Wildlife Studios
119 Bierstadt Ct
Livermore,  CO  80536
e-mail;  bill@huntstudios.com
Web;  http://www.huntstudios.com

> From: Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au>
> Reply-To: dannj@alphalink.com.au
> Date: Tue, 01 Oct 2002 06:39:53 +1000
> To: DML <dinosaur@usc.edu>
> Subject: Re: Ammonite colouration (was Re: SVP Preview)
> Daniel Bensen wrote:
>> I was under the impression (er, so to speak) that nothing apart
>> from the shells had ever been discovered for an ammonite.
> Shells can have colouration too. In fact, amongst molluscs, it is
> usually only the shell that is coloured - the flesh is often mostly
> unpigmented. Some cephalopods are the extreme exception, of course.
> -- 
> ________________________________________________________________
> Dann Pigdon                   Australian Dinosaurs:
> GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
> Melbourne, Australia        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj/
> ________________________________________________________________