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Article: Integrating 2D and 3D shell morphology to disentangle the palaeobiology of ammonoids: a virtual approach

Palaeontology Cover Image - Volume 61 Part 1
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 61
Part: 1
Publication Date: January 2018
Page(s): 89 104
Author(s): René Hoffmann, Robert E. Lemanis, Janina Falkenberg, Steffen Schneider, Hendrik Wesendonk, and Stefan Zachow
Addition Information

How to Cite

HOFFMANN, R., LEMANIS, R.E., FALKENBERG, J., SCHNEIDER, S., WESENDONK, H., ZACHOW, S. 2018. Integrating 2D and 3D shell morphology to disentangle the palaeobiology of ammonoids: a virtual approach. Palaeontology, 61, 1, 89-104. DOI: 10.1111/pala.12328

Author Information

  • René Hoffmann - Institute of Geology, Mineralogy & Geophysics Ruhr‐Universität Bochum Bochum Germany (Email:
  • Robert E. Lemanis - BCUBE – Center for Molecular Bioengineering Multiscale Analysis Technische Universität Dresden Dresden Germany
  • Janina Falkenberg - Institute of Geology, Mineralogy & Geophysics Ruhr‐Universität Bochum Bochum Germany
  • Steffen Schneider - Berlin Germany
  • Hendrik Wesendonk - iWP innovative Werkstoffprüfung GmbH and Co.KG Neuss Germany
  • Stefan Zachow - Division of Mathematics for Life & Material Sciences Department of Scientific Visual Data Analysis Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB) Berlin Germany

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 25 December 2017
  • Manuscript Accepted: 22 August 2017
  • Manuscript Received: 10 April 2017

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library (Free Access)
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Based on data derived from computed tomography, we demonstrate that integrating 2D and 3D morphological data from ammonoid shells represents an important new approach for investigating the palaeobiology of ammonoids. Characterization of ammonite morphology has long been constrained to 2D data, with only a few studies collecting ontogenetic data in 180° steps. Here we combine this traditional approach with 3D data collected from high‐resolution nano‐computed tomography. Ontogenetic morphological data on the hollow shell of a juvenile ammonite Kosmoceras (Jurassic, Callovian) was collected. 2D data was collected in 10° steps and show significant changes in shell morphology. Preserved hollow spines show multiple mineralized membranes never reported before, representing temporal changes in the ammonoid mantle tissue. 3D data show that chamber volumes do not always increase exponentially, as was generally assumed, but may represent a proxy for life events, such as stress phases. Furthermore, chamber volume cannot be simply derived from septal spacing in forms comparable to Kosmoceras. Vogel numbers represent a 3D parameter for chamber shape, and those for Kosmoceras are similar to other ammonoids (Arnsbergites, Amauroceras) and modern cephalopods (Nautilus, Spirula). Two methods to virtually document the suture line ontogeny, used to document phylogenetic relationships of larger taxonomic entities, were applied for the first time and present a promising alternative to hand drawings. The curvature of the chamber surfaces increases during ontogeny due to increasing strength of ornamentation and septal complexity. As this may allow for faster handling of cameral liquid, it could compensate for decreasing SA/V ratios through ontogeny.

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