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Microstructure and mineralogy of the outer calcareous layer in the lower jaws of Cretaceous Tetragonitoidea and Desmoceratoidea (Ammonoidea)





Kazushige Tanabe [], Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan; Neil H. Landman [], Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024, USA; Isabelle Kruta [], Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Centre de recherche sur Paéodiversité et les Paléoenvironnements, UMR 7207, Paris 75252, France; manuscript received on 30/12/10; manuscript accepted on 16/02/11.


Tanabe, K., Landman, N.H. & Kruta, I. 2011: Microstructure and mineralogy of the outer calcareous layer in the lower jaws of Cretaceous Tetragonitoidea and Desmoceratoidea (Ammonoidea). Lethaia, Vol. 45, pp. 191–199.

Based on the differences in their relative size, overall shape, structure and the degree of development of an outer calcified covering, lower jaws of the Ammonoidea have been classified into four morphotypes: normal, anaptychus, aptychus and rhynchaptychus types. However, detailed microstructural and mineralogical comparison of these morphotypes has not yet been addressed. This article documents the results of SEM and XRD observations of the lower jaws of three Late Cretaceous ammonoid species belonging to the Tetragonitoidea (Anagaudryceras limatum) and Desmoceratoidea (Pachydiscus kamishakensis and Damesites aff. sugata), based on excellent material preserved in situ within the body chamber, and retaining an aragonitic shell wall. The lower jaws of the three species are assigned to an intermediate form between anaptychus and aptychus types for the first two species and the rhynchaptychus type for the third species. Their black, presumably originally chitinous outer lamella is wholly covered with a calcareous layer. The calcareous layer is composed of aragonite in D. aff. sugata and A. limatum, and calcite in P. kamishakensis. The microstructure of the outer calcareous layer differs among the three species, i.e. granular in A. limatum, spherulitic prismatic in D. sugata, and prismatic in P. kamishakensis, all of which can be distinguished from the lamellar and spongy structure of the outer-paired calcitic plates of the typical aptychus-type lower jaws in some Jurassic and Cretaceous Ammonitina and Ancyloceratina. Our study suggests that most Jurassic and Cretaceous ammonoids possessed an outer calcareous layer in their lower jaws, although its mineralogy, microstructure and relative thickness vary among different taxa. □Ammonoidea, Cretaceous, Desmoceratoidea, lower jaw, microstructure, Tetragonitoidea.