Learning zone logo
Skip to content
Home     Animals     Fossils     Insects     Minerals     Rocks     Funstuff

Belemnites

Belemnites died out at the same time as ammonites and dinosaurs.

Reconstruction of a belemnite Belemnites are an extinct group of cephalopod that probably looked like a squid.

Unlike nautiloids and ammonites, belemnites had a very solid internal skeleton called a rostrum. Many people will be familiar with belemnite rostra, they are straight, and look rather like bullets.

Apart from their shells, palaeontologists have also found some belemnite fossils that show their internal structure and soft parts. These fossils tell us a great deal about the way these animals lived. Belemnites had large eyes, and swam quickly using a form of jet propulsion. Like the octopus they could probably squirt clouds of black ink at their enemies to avoid attack.

A belemnite A belemnite A belemnite
Belemnite shells (rostra) are common fossils in some parts of Britain.

Belemnites first appeared about 360 million years ago. Along with ammonites and dinosaurs, they died out at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago.


The mollusc wheel Find out about fossil molluscs Find out about fossil gastropods Find out about fossil bivalves Find out about fossil cephalopods Find out about ammonites Find out about fossil nautiloids Find out about belemnites
The molluscs are split into different groups - the gastropods, bivalves and cephalopods. The cephalopods are also split into three groups.



Molluscs
Gastropods
Bivalves
Cephalopods
Ammonites
Nautiloids
Belemnites

If you read these pages you should become an expert invertebrate identifier!
The major groups are listed below - select a link to learn more about this type of fossil.

Sponges Corals
Molluscs Brachiopods
Arthropods Graptolites
Echinoderms Return to the wheel

If you know it all already, return to the Homepage or test yourself with our Quiz!