Let's take a look at the wonderful world of Nautilus fossils!
What Are Nautilus Fossils?
Nautilus fossils are the fossilised remains of ancient marine molluscs, a part of the cephalopod family along with octopuses, squid, and extinct ammonites.
Nautilus fossils are famed for their stunning external coiled, spiral-patterned shells and colourful chambers.
How Old Are Nautilus Fossils?
Nautilus fossils available from Madagascan Direct date back to the Cretaceous Period at 120 million years old, in an era when the seas were full of Ammonite and Nautilus creatures that over time fossilised into the stunning specimens found today.
However, the earliest Nautilus fossils present in the fossil record date all the way back to the Late Triassic Period (over 200 million years old!).
Nautilus: Living Fossils
Nautilus still exist in the present day, and they inhabit the deep coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
These live Nautilus creatures are termed "living fossils": a rare type of creature which is very similar in biology to its ancient fossil relatives.
Over the last 500 million years, the evolution of Nautilus has been slow and minimal, meaning that Nautilus fossils are very similar to living Nautilus creatures.
Ammonites, another famous type of Cephalopod fossil, are completely extinct, so Nautilus are the only Cephalopods with an external shell that swim the seas in the modern world.
Where Do You Find Nautilus Fossils?
Our Nautilus fossils were found in the jungles of Mahajanga on the North West coast of Madagascar, an island located near Africa which is famed for its fossil riches.
What Do Nautilus Fossils Look Like?
Nautilus Fossils display rich caramel and brown colours in intricate striped patterns.
These colours were caused by colourful calcite minerals replacing the original organic material present in the live Nautilus during the fossilisation process.
Some Nautilus fossils display striped black shells: these stunning black hues were caused by natural oil seeping into the shells, colouring the Calcite.
Nautilus specimens available at Madagascan Direct have been carefully hand-polished to the highest grade, enhancing the vivid colours of their shells.
The famous Chambered Nautilus (Nautilus Pompilius) has an external shell which protects the chambers within.
As the Nautilus creature grows, its chambers expand outwards in a stunning spiral shape.
The Nautilus body remains in the hard, outermost chamber so that it can be protected, and the other chambers are used to enable the Nautilus to float and sink.
Named after the Ancient Greek term for "sailor", Chambered Nautilus creatures are incredibly buoyant.
When the Nautilus is floating towards the surface of the ocean, the chambers are full of gas, helping the creature to float.
When the Nautilus needs to sink, a tube called the siphuncle that runs through the chambers opens, flooding the chambers with water so that the Nautilus becomes heavier and able to sink.
Compared to squid and octopus, Nautilus creatures have many more tentacles (more accurately known as cirri) which they use to ensnare their prey.
As carnivores, Nautilus creatures feed on fish and crustaceans: they swim towards prey using jet propulsion, meaning water inside their chambers is forcefully pushed out to propel them in their desired directions.
Sacred Geometry Of Nautilus Shells
In sacred geometry, the spiral shape has powerful spiritual significance, and signifies growth and expansion.
As Nautilus shells display distinctive logarithmic spiral shapes, Nautilus fossils embody this spiritual meaning of growth too.
A Nautilus shell is patterned in a very similar way to the sacred Golden Mean Spiral, a symbol of the infinite Fibonacci Sequence and the revered Golden Ratio.
As a result, Nautilus shells are believed to be strongly symbolic of order and perfection in not just the natural world, but the entire universe.
Ammonite shells are also thought to be sacred for this reason.
Nautilus Shells: Literature And Interior Design
The Nautilus has been an important symbol in art and literature, with poetry and music inspired by its beautiful shell.
The Victorians particularly revered the Nautilus, and Nautilus shells were prized aspects of interior design.
Nautilus Fossils For Sale: Madagascan Direct
At Madagascan Direct, we pride ourselves on our range of high-grade Polished Nautilus Fossils.
Our Nautilus specimens display vibrant, colourful shells, and have been prepared expertly by hand.
With a storied history to tell, a Nautilus Fossil would make an ideal gift for a fossil collector, or as an impressive piece of home decor.
Buy Nautilus Fossils online now at Madagascan Direct.