Skip to main content

Late Cretaceous octobrachiate coleoid lower jaws from the north Pacific regions

  • Kazushige Tanabe (a1), Pat Trask (a2), Rick Ross (a2) and Yoshinori Hikida (a3)

Eight well-preserved cephalopod jaw fossils were discovered from the Upper Cretaceous (Santonian and Campanian) deposits of Vancouver Island, Canada, and Hokkaido, Japan. They occur individually in calcareous concretions and retain their three-dimensional architecture. Seven of them consist of a widely open outer lamella and a posteriorly projected inner lamella with a pointed rostrum. Both lamellae are made of fluorapatite, which may represent diagenetically altered chitin, and lack a calcareous element. Based on these diagnostic features, the seven jaw fossils are identified as lower jaws of the Coleoidea. Comparison with the lower jaws of modern coleoids allows us to distinguish the following new genera and species among them; Nanaimoteuthis jeletzkyi of the Order Vampyromorphida, and Paleocirroteuthis haggarti and P. pacifica of the Order Cirroctopodida. The lower jaws of these new taxa are clearly distinguished by having a much less projected inner lamella from those of modern and extinct species of the Superorder Decabrachia and the Order Octopodida. The maximum lengths of their outer lamellae (35.0-67.1 mm) are much larger than those of most modern vampyromorph and cirroctopodid species, indicating the large body size and weight of their owners. One of the other three lower jaws examined, characterized by a posteriorly extended outer lamella, may be assigned to the Octopodida. This study clearly demonstrates that large octobrachiate coleoids existed in the Late Cretaceous North Pacific.

Hide All
Bandel K. and Leich H. 1986. Jurassic Vampyromorpha (dibranchiate cephalopods). Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Montshafte, Jahrgang 1986(3): 129148.
Bather F. A. 1888. Shell-growth in Cephalopoda (Siphonopoda). Annals and Magazine of Natural History, (6)1:298310.
Bizikov V. A. 2004. The shell in Vampyropoda (Cephalopoda): Morphology, functional role and evolution. Ruthenica supplement, 3:188.
Chun C. 1903. Aus den Tiefen des Weltmeeres. Second edition. Jena, Gustav Fischer, 592 p.
Chun C. 1911. Cirrothauma, ein Blinder Cephalopod. Doctoral dissertation. Leipzig, 21 p.
Clarke M. R. 1962. The identification of cephalopod “beaks” and the relationship between beak size and total body weight. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Zoology, 8:419480.
Clarke M. R. 1980. Cephalopoda in the diet of sperm whales of the southern Hemisphere and their bearing on sperm whale biology. Discovery Reports, 37:1324.
Clarke M. R. (ed.). 1986. A Handbook for the Identification of Cephalopod Beaks. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 273 p.
Clarke M. R. and Maddock L. 1988. Beaks of living coleoid Cephalopoda, p. 121131. In Clarke M. R. and Trueman E. R. (eds.), The Mollusca. Volume 12. Paleontology and Neontology of Cephalopods. Academic Press, San Diego.
Donovan D. T. 1977. Evolution of the Dibranchiate Cephalopoda, p. 1548. In Nixon M. and Messenger J. B. (eds.), The Biology of Cephalopods. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London, No. 38. Academic Press, London.
Donovan D. T. 1983. Mastigophora Owen: A little known genus of Jurassic coleoid. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie Abhandlungen, 165:484495.
Donovan D. T. and Toll R. B. 1988. The gladius in coleoid (Cephalopoda) evolution, p. 89101. In Clarke M. R. and Trueman E. R. (eds.), The Mollusca. Volume 12. Paleontology and Neontology of Cephalopods. Academic Press, San Diego.
Doyle P., Donovan D. T., and Nixon M. 1994. Phylogeny and systematics of the Coleoidea. University of Kansas, Paleontological Contributions, New Series, 5:115.
Engeser T. 1988. Fossilium Catalogus 1. Animalia Pars 130. Vampyromorpha (“Fosslie Teuthiden”). Kugler, Amsterdam, 167 p.
Engeser T. 1990. Phylogeny of the fossil coleoid Cephalopoda (Mollusca). Berliner Geowissenschaftliche Abhandlungen, 124:123191.
Engeser T. and Bandel K. 1988. Phylogenetic classification of coleoid cephalopods. p. 105116. In Wiedmann J. and Kullmann J. (eds.), Cephalopods—Present and Past. E. Schweizerbart'sche Velag., Stuttgart.
Eschricht D. F. 1836. Cirroteuthis muelleri, eine neue Gattung der Cephalopoden Bildend. Nova Acta Physico-Medica Academiae Casearea Leopoldino-Carolinae Naturae Curiosorum, 18:27634.
Fischer J.-C. and Riou B. 1982a. Les teuthïdes (Cephalopoda, Dibranchiata) du Callovien inférieur de la Voulte-sur-Rhône (Ardèche, France). Annales de Paléontologie, Paris, 68:295325.
Fischer J.-C. and Riou B. 1982b. Le plus ancient poulpe connu (Cephalopoda, Dibranchiata), Proteroctopus ribeti nov. gen., nov. sp., du Callovien de l'Ardèche (France). Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, Paris, 295:277280.
Fischer J.-C. and Riou B. 2002. Vampyronassa rhodanica nov. gen. nov sp., vampyromorphe (Cephalopoda, Coleoidea) du Callovien inférieur de La Voulte-sur-Rhône (Ardèche, France). Annales de Paléontologie 88:117.
Fuchs D. 2006a. Morphology, taxonomy and diversity of vampyropod coleoids (Cephalopoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of Lebanon. Memorie della Societã Italiana di Scienze Naturali e del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano, 34(11): 128.
Fuchs D. 2006b. Fossil Erhaltungsfähige Merkmalskomplexe der Coleoidea (Cephalopoda) und ihre phylogenetische Bedeutung. Berliner paläobiologische Abhandlungen 8:1115.
Haas W. 2002. The evolutionary history of the eight-armed Coleoidea. Abhandlungen der geologischen Bundesanstalt Wien, 57:341351.
Haeckel E. H. P. A. 1866. Systemischer Phylogenie. Entwurf eines Naturlichen Systems der Organismen auf Grund ihrer Stammesgeschite. Zwiter Theil; Systemische Phylogenie der Wirbellosen Thiere (Invertebrata). Georg Reimer, Berlin.
Haggart J. W. 1994. Turonian (Upper Cretaceous) strata and biochronology of southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia; in Current Research 1994-A. Geological Survey of Canada: 159164.
Haggart J. W. and Ward P. D. 1989. New Nanaimo Group ammonites (Cretaceous, Santonian-Campanian) from British Columbia and Washington State. Journal of Paleontology, 63:218227.
Harzhauser M. 1999. Filling a gap—beaks and hooks of Cenozoic coleoids (Cephalopoda). Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museum in Wien, 101A: 123135.
Hewitt R. A., Yoshiike T., and Westermann G. E. G. 1991. Shell microstructure and ecology of the Cretaceous coleoid cephalopod Naefia from the Santonian of Japan. Cretaceous Research, 12:4754.
Hirano H., Obata I., and Ukishima M. 1990. Naefia matsumotoi, a unique coleoid (Cephalopoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of Japan. Saito Ho-on Kai Special Publications, 3:201221.
House M. R. 1988. Major features of cephalopod evolution, p. 116. In Wiedmann J. and Kullmann J. (eds.), Cephalopods—Present and Past. E. Schweizerbart'sche Velag., Stuttgart.
Hunt S. and Nixon M. 1981. A comparative study of protein composition in the chitin-protein complexes of the beak, pen, sucker disc, radula and oesophageal cuticle of cephalopods. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 68B:535546.
Iverson I. L K. and Pinkas L. 1971. A pictorial guide to beaks of certain Eastern Pacific cephalopods. Fish Bulletin 152:8384.
Jeletzky J. A. 1966. Comparative morphology, phylogeny, and classification of fossil Coleoidea. The University of Kansas Paleontological Contributions, Mollusca, Article 7:1162.
Kanie Y. 1998. New vampyromorph (Coleoidea: Cephalopoda) jaw apparatuses from the Late Cretaceous of Japan. Bulletin of Gumma Museum of Natural History 2:2334.
Kluessendorf J. and Doyle P. 2000. Pohlsepia mazonensis, an early ‘Octopus’ from the Carboniferous of Illinois, USA. Palaeontology, 43:919926.
Klug C. 2001. Functional morphology and taphonomy of nautiloid beaks from the Middle Triassic of southern Germany. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 46:4368.
Klug C., Schweigert G., Dietl G., and Fuchs D. 2005. Coleoid beaks from the Nusplingen Lithographic Limestone (Upper Kimmeridgian, SW Germany). Lethaia 38:173192.
Kubodera T. 2000. Identification of jaws in modern coleoid cephalopods.
Landman N. H., Tsujita C. J., Cobban W. J., Larson N. L., and Tanabe K. 2006. Jaws of Late Cretaceous placenticeratid ammonites: How preservation affects the interpretation of morphology. American Museum, Novitates, 3500:148.
Lehmann U. 1976. Ammoniten. Ihr Leben und ihre Umwelt. Ferdinand Enke, Stuttgart, 171 p.
Linnaeus C. 1758. Systema Naturae. Edition 10, Vol. 1, Holminae (=Stockholm), 824 p.
Lowenstam H. A., Tarub W., and Weiner S. 1984. Nautilus hard parts: a study of the mineral and organic compositions. Paleobiology, 10:269279.
Ludvigsen R. and Beard G. 2001. West Coast Fossils. A Guide to the Ancient Life of Vancouver Island. Second Edition. Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park, 216 p.
McGugan A. 1979. Biostratigraphy and paleoecology of Upper Cretaceous (Campanian and Maastrichtian) foraminifera from the upper Lambert, Northumberland, and Spray formations. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 16:22632274.
Meyer H. von. 1834. Leptoteuthis gigas. Museum Senckenbergianum, Abhandlungen, 1:286287.
Muller J. E. and Jeletzky J. A. 1970. Geology of the Upper Cretaceous Nanaimo Group, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands, British Columbia. Geological Survey of Canada Paper 69-25:177.
Mustard P. S. 1994. The Upper Cretaceous Nanaimo Group, Georgia Basin, p. 2795. In Monger J. W. H., (ed.) Geology and Geological Hazards of the Vancouver Region, Southwestern British Columbia. Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin, 481.
Naef A. 1922. Die Fossilen Tintenfische. Jena, Gustav Fischer, 322 p.
Naef A. 1923. Die Cephalopoden.-Fauna und Flora des Golfes von Neapel, 35 Monographie (Teil I, Band 1), Systematik. Berlin, 863 p.
Neige P. and Dommergues J.-L. 2002. Disparity of beaks and statoliths of some coleoids: A morphometric approach to depict shape differentiation. Abhandlungen der Geologischen Bundesanstalt, 57:393399.
Nixon M. and Young J. Z. 2003. The Brains and Lives of Cephalopods. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 392 p.
Okutani T. and Mikami S. 1977. Description on beaks of Nautlus macromphalus Sowerby. Venus (Japanese Journal of Malacology), 36:115121.
Pickford G. E. 1949. Vampyroteuthis infernails Chun. An archaic dibranchiate cephalopod. II. External anatomy. Dana Reports, Carlsberg Foundation, 32:1132.
Robson G. C. 1929. A Monograph of the Recent Cephalopoda, I: The Octopodinae. British Museum (Natural History), London, 236 p.
Robson G. C. 1932. A Monograph of the Recent Cephalopoda, II: The Octopoda. British Museum (Natural History), London, 359 p.
Roman F. 1928. Plesioteuthis gevreyi Roman, p. 112. In Sayn G. and Roman F.1928. Etudes sur le Callovian de la Vallée du Rhône. II, Monographie du Jurassique moyen de La Voulte-sur-Rhône. Travux du Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, 13 (mém. n° 11, fasc. 1): 1-165.
Rüppell E. 1829. Abbildungen und Beschreiburg einiger neuen und weniger gekannten Versteinerungen von Solnhofen. Frankfurt/M., Brönner Verlag. 12 p.
Saunders W. B., Spinosa C., Teichert C., and Banks R. C. 1978. The jaw apparatus of Recent Nautilus and its palaeontological implications. Palaeontology 21:129141.
Sliter W. V. 1973. Upper Cretaceous foraminifera from the Vancouver Island area, British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 3: 167186.
Strugnell J., Jackson J., Drummond A. J., and Cooper A. 2006. Divergence time estimates for major cephalopod groups: Evidence from multiple genes. Cladistics 22:8996.
Takahashi A., Hirano H., and Sato T. 2003. Stratigraphy and fossil assemblage of the Upper Cretaceous in the Teshionakagawa area, Hokkaido, northern Japan. Journal of the Geological Society of Japan, 109:7795. (In Japanese with English abstract).
Takashima R., Kawabe F., Nishi H., Moriya K., Wani R., and Ando H. 2004. Geology and stratigraphy of forearc basin sediments in Hokkaido, Japan: Cretaceous environmental events on the north-west Pacific margin. Cretaceous Research, 25:365390.
Tanabe K. and Fukuda Y. 1983. Buccal mass structure of the Cretaceous ammonite Gaudryceras. Lethaia, 16:249256.
Tanabe K. and Fukuda Y. 1999. Morphology and function of cephalopod buccal mass, p. 245262. In Savazzi E. (ed.), Functional Morphology of the Invertebrate Skeleton. John Wiley & Sons, London.
Tanabe K., Fukuda Y., Kanie K., and Lehmann U. 1980. Rhyncholites and conchorhynchs as calcified jaw elements in some late Cretaceous ammonites. Lethaia, 13:157168.
Tanabe K., Hikida Y., and Iba Y. 2006. Two coleoid jaws from the Upper Cretaceous of Hokkaido, Japan. Journal of Paleontology, 80:138145.
Tanabe K. and Landman N. H. 2002. Morphological diversity of the jaws of Cretaceous Ammonoidea. Abhandlungen der Geologischen Bundesanstalt, Wien, 57:157165.
Vecchione M., Young R. E., Donovan D. T., and Rodhouse P. G. 1999. Reevaluation of coleoid cephalopod relationships based on modified arms in the Jurassic coleoid Mastigophora. Lethaia, 32:113118.
Verrill A. E. 1879. Notice of recent additions to the marine fauna of the eastern coast of North America, No. 7. American Journal of Science and Arts, 18:468470.
Verrill A. E. 1883. Supplementary report on the “blake” cephalopods. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard, 11:105115.
Ward P. D. 1978. Revisions to the stratigraphy and biochronology of the Upper Cretaceous Nanaimo Group, British Columbia and Wasington State. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 15:405423.
Ward P. D. and Saunders W. B. 1997. Allonautilus: A new genus of living nautiloid cephalopod. Journal of Paleontology, 71:10541064.
Wetzel W. 1930. Die Quiriqina-Schichten als Sediment und paläontologisches Archiv. Palaeontographica, 73:49104.
Whiteaves J. F. 1897. Some remains of a Sepia-like cuttlefish from the Cretaceous rocks of the South Saskatchewan. The Canadian Record of Science, 7:459462.
Woodward H. 1883. On a new genus of fossil “Calamary”, from the Cretaceous formations of Sahel-Alma, near Beirut, Lebanon, Syria. Geological Magazine, New Series, 10:15.
Woodward H. 1896. On a fossil octopus (Calais Newboldi J. De C. Sby, MS) from the Cretaceous of the Lebanon. Quaternary Journal of the Geological Society of London, 52:229234.
Yokoyama M. 1890. Versteinerungen aus der japanischen Kreide. Palaeontographica, 36:159202.
Young R. E. and Vecchione M. 1996. Analysis of morphology to determine primary sister taxon relationships within coleoid cephalopods. American Malacological Bulletin, 12:91112.
Young R. E., Vecchione M., and Donovan D. T. 1998. The evolution of coleoid cephalopods and their present biodiversity and ecology, p. 393420. In Payne A., Lipínski L., Clarke M. R., and Roeleveld M. C. A. (eds.), Cephalopod Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution. South African Journal of marine Science, 20.
Zittel K. A. V. 1895. Mollusca, p. 386435. In Grundzüge der Palaeontologie (Palaeozoologie), Munchen, Leipzig: Druck under Verlag von R. Oldenbourg.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Paleontology
  • ISSN: 0022-3360
  • EISSN: 1937-2337
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-paleontology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 2 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 53 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 15th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.