From the vault: Fossil slab showcases extinct squid found in Colorado
WHAT: Dinosaur Journey Museum
WHEN: Daily; check website for winter hours
WHERE: 550 Jurassic Court, Fruita
COST: $8.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors, $5.25 for children and $24.50 for immediate family groups
Editor’s note: “From the vault” features fossils and other dinosaur-related historical artifacts currently stored at Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita, Colo.
Fruita’s Dinosaur Journey Museum currently has a large slab of fossil belemites in its lab.
According to Julia McHugh, Dinosaur Journey’s curator of paleontology, “this specimen was part of a collection of belemites from the Jurassic Sundance Formation of Wyoming that was donated to the Museum of Western Colorado by Ivan Kladder in the 1990s.”
What is a belemite, you may ask?
“Belemites are a type of extinct squid,” McHugh explained. “Modern squids and belemites did not have an external shell like the chambered Nautilus or ammonites, but instead have an internal shell called a ‘pen.’ Pet stores will sell cuttlebone as a bird toy for sharpening beaks; this is the internal shell, or ‘pen’ of the cuttlefish.”
Belemites, though common in Wyoming’s Jurassic and Cretaceous marine sedimentary layers, are less common (though still found) in Colorado.
These extinct sea creatures “resemble elongated bullets,” McHugh added.
To learn about Dinosaur Journey Museum, visit http://www.museumofwesternco.com.
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