COOL IMAGES: Life in a Paleo Sea

Science  17 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5460, pp. 1883
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5460.1883a

Ammonoids swim in an ancient ocean in this rendition of what the once-ubiquitous mollusks may have looked like before they died out in a mass extinction 65 million years ago. Øyvind Hammer of the University of Oslo's Paleontological Museum reconstructed the scene as part of his computational research exploring how fossil invertebrates developed, interacted, and evolved. For example, Hammer's algorithms can predict the ribbing on ammonoids and the spirals on a tablet of fossilized coral, growth patterns that help researchers “understand the evolution of shape,” he explains. Visit Hammer's Web site to see images and movies of more long-gone life-forms, from straight-shelled nautiloids to graptolites to sea lily-like crinoids.

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