A pair of researchers at Syracuse University has found evidence that an ancient squid-like creature with a paperclip-shaped shell may have lived for hundreds of years. Linda Ivany and Emily Artruc outlined their research at this year’s online meeting of the Geological Society of America. They also spoke to the press about their findings.
Diplomoceras maximum lived approximately 68 million years ago (in the waters around what is now Antarctica), at approximately the same time as Tyrannosaurus rex—a period known as the Maastrichtian age of the upper Cretaceous period. D. maximum was a large, squid-like creature (its shell was over 1.5 meters tall), an ammonite that was part of a now-extinct group of tentacled cephalopods. It went extinct at the same time as the dinosaurs, presumably for the same reason: the Chicxulub asteroid strike. What made D. maximum stand out was the unique shape of its shell. The top portion bent back and forth, resembling a paperclip. In this new effort, Ivany and Artruc discovered something else remarkable about the ancient creature—its lifespan [of approximately 200 years].