Goniatids, informally Goniatites, are ammonoid cephalopods that existed from the middle Devonian period up to the end of the Permian, facing extinction just one era before early dinosaurs began to appear in the late Triassic period.
All goniatites possessed an external shell, which is divided internally into chambers filled with gas giving it buoyancy during the life of the animal. An open chamber at the front of the shell provided living space for the goniatitid animal, with access to open water through an aperture. The general morphology and habit of goniatites was probably similar to that of their later relatives the ammonites, being free swimming and possessing a head with two well developed eyes and arms (or tentacles).
They occur most often in inland seas, which had the correct level of salinity in the water for them to survive. Fossils can be found on practically every continent. However, they seem to occur mostly in areas which at the time would have been tropical to subtropical.
This authentic goniatite fossil makes a great addition to any fossil/rock/mineral collection, and looks great in the classroom. Have students pass it around and study its markings, and maybe draw what they imagine the creature might look like. Also makes an inexpensive, gift, stocking stuffer, or fun and unique party favor!
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