Bath Geological Society - Jurassic Calamari: Life, Death and Preservation of Fossil Squid in the Jurassic Rocks of the Wessex Basin

07 November 2019

Bath Geological Society

7th November 2019



Malcolm Hart

School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences,

University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA

The squid-like cephalopods (Coleoidea) are an important part of the Jurassic ecosystem. Examples of them were illustrated by Henry De La Beche in his famous diorama ‘Duria Antiquior’ (a more ancient Dorset) which depicted most of the known fossils of the Lias of Lyme Regis. Discoveries of specimens with exceptional preservation from many parts of the Jurassic in the Wessex Basin, have allowed the reconstruction of both their morphology and mode of life. Fossils from the Callovian clays of Christian Malford (Wiltshire) and the Charmouth Mudstone Formation of Lyme Regis (Dorset) show how these active predators captured their prey and attempted to eat quite large specimens of fish. In one exceptional specimen, the fish may have been too big and the squid choked to death!

Malcolm Hart, University of Plymouth