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Orthoceras: Shelled Marauder of the Seas

Orthoceras Fossil table lamp and orthoceras fossil home decor

Fossils of the Orthoceras are found in Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Morocco, and Antarctica. Usually found in limestone, when polished they develop wonderful black and white contrast and a beautiful shine. We like using them to create our Orthoceras stand home accessories and table lamps.

Orthoceras Fossil Décor and Lamp

Some designers use larger sections as countertops or even wall covering in place of dry wall or wood paneling!

Orthoceras Fossil Sink Basin

When we pluck things like fossils from nature and bring them into our homes to produce interest and wonder, they enrich our spaces and with history and story help to produce a restful environment. But what exactly was an Orthoceras? We are all familiar with cats and dogs, but few are acquainted with the story of creatures like the Orthoceras which have been extinct for millennia.

Image of live orthoceras

Orthoceras fossils are all that remain of a fascinating creature that at one time roamed the ocean searching for its next meal. It was not fussy. Anything would do, from something as small as plankton to fish to prehistoric turtles! Of course, it depended on the size of the Orthoceras, as they varied in size from a few inches to approximately fourteen feet! Two features that enabled them to hunt their prey were their ability to draw in water and shoot it out to produce a kind of jet propulsion. By the same means, they could empty their shells of water to create buoyancy, so they could rise through the water after that same prey. As nautiloids, related to current day squid, octopus, cuttlefish, and of course nautilus, they were intelligent creatures.

Example of orthoceras fossil and orthoceras fossil bookends

The name Orthoceras means “straight horn”, which relates directly to the shell that they would create, year by year, living in the newest, largest section. With each new section added, a divider called a septum would be added, producing the lines still visible in the fossils today. The central line going down the fossil was the siphuncle, which was the device that enabled them to siphon water in and shoot it out. When alive, tentacles would have extended beyond the wide end of the shell with which they would grab their prey. I would sure like to have been able to see these guys in action!

Interested in learning more? Check out my sources below or click HERE to be taken to our website listing for our Orthoceras Fossil Stands.

Orthoceras Fossil decor


Photo credits:

Imagining Orthoceras –

Orthoceras Fossil Countertop – Pike’s Peak Rock Shop

Orthoceras Fossil Book Ends –

Orthoceras Fossil in Historic Staircase – Fouganthin: Limestone Staircase, Grillska House, Old Town Stockholm

Ferro Designs

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2 thoughts on “Orthoceras: Shelled Marauder of the Seas”

  1. Very great article about the Orthoceres! I would like to share this with the kids at the schools, do you have a PDF.file or jep.file of the picture in this article that I can download and put on display for them to see? I have a fossil plate of it but having the picture of how the actual look will fascinate the students. My email address is listed on the comment file email section.Thank you in advance.

  2. Hi Thomas,

    Glad you enjoyed the blog! I found the art online through the link I have emailed to you. God’s creation is awesome!


    -Ferro Designs

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