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Cameroceras
Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Mollusca
Class Cephalopoda
Subclass Nautiloidea
Order Endocerida
Family Endoceratidae
Genus Cameroceras
1st Species Cameroceras trentonense
2nd Species Cameroceras alternatum
3rd Species Cameroceras hennepini
4th Species Cameroceras inopinatum
Other attributes
Time Range 470-425 mya
Location United States of America, Canada, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, China
Name Meaning Chambered horn
Physical Dimensions 7 meters long
Dietary Classification Planktivore

Cameroceras is an endoceratid endoceridan cephalopod mollusk from the Middle Ordovician-Ludlow of the United States of America, Canada, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and China. It was named in 1842 by Timothy Abbott Conrad. It was one of the biggest orthoconic cephalopods, and was originally thought to be 11 meters long; however, scientists now agree that it was 4 meters shorter.

PhysiologyEdit

Cameroceras had the generic orthoconic cephalopod body plan. It was a squid-like mollusk with tentacles long enough to capture food, a small mouth hiding between the circular row of tentacles, and a large, straight shell. Its body would have been covered in smooth skin, and mostly covered by its hard shell.

DietEdit

Cameroceras was a planktivore, sucking up colonies of plankton drifting through the water. Its tentacles would have been used to trap plankton, while its mouth would suck them up.

EcologyEdit

For a while, it was suspected that Cameroceras was a predator, feeding on any mid-sized animals; in order to hunt, it would have swam up to prey and grabbed it with its tentacles; between these tentacles, a hard, keratinous beak would have delivered a bite so powerful that it would have cracked the outer coverings of smaller orthoconic cephalopods like Endoceras and even eurypterids like Megalograptus, leaving the giant cephalopod to rasp out any soft tissue with its radula. However, a recent study found that there is no evidence for the existence of said beak in Cameroceras; as well as this, its gigantic, straight shell would have heavily impeded its movement, making it a slow swimmer. Due to this, a nektobenthic (free-swimming, but living near the seafloor) predatory lifestyle similar to the living nautilus would not have worked for the cephalopod; instead, it would have been an epipelagic (living near the ocean's surface) filter feeder, sucking up plankton as it swam about. As well as this, Cameroceras was built in a way so that it wasn't rear-heavy; many small conical structures within its siphuncle (tube in the shell containing soft tissue and running through all the chambers in its shell) would have compensated for all the flesh in the body chamber, and would have sealed off the top chambers from the siphuncle itself, making the body horizontally stable, no matter how many changes in buoyancy it would experience.

In popular cultureEdit

Cameroceras was featured in the 1st episode of the 2003 documentary Chased by Sea Monsters, where it is depicted as a marauding predator ready to take a bite out of any arthropods in its way. As well as this, it is depicted as having poor eyesight; however, this may have not not very likely, as many epipelagic cephalopods are known to have exceptional eyesight.

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