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Pronounced – Bel-em-nite
Meaning of name – Greek for a thrown dart or Javelin
Group – Cephalopods, Mollusc
Age – Lower Jurassic, around 195 million years old
Belemnites were carnivorous and free swimming squid-like creatures with a long bullet shaped body and a hard internal skeleton called a guard. The guard was positioned towards the tail end of the creature and acted as a counterbalance for the head and arms. This part of the belemnite is what we commonly find on the beach as a fossil. These are some of the most common fossils that we find on the beaches around Charmouth.
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What did they look like?
Belemnites, along with Ammonites and many other creatures, became extinct 65 Million Years Ago at the end of the Cretaceous Period. We can create a picture of what they may have look liked by studying their modern relatives, squid. The soft-bodied fossil remains of Jurassic belemnites also tell us that unlike squid they lacked long grasping tentacles, and instead had ten arms lined with rows of hooks.