25 June 2012

How ammonites got their name

The name ammonite, from which the scientific term is derived, was inspired by the spiral shape of their fossilized shells, which somewhat resemble tightly coiled rams' horns. Pliny the Elder... called fossils of these animals ammonis cornua ("horns of Ammon") because the Egyptian god Ammon (Amun) was typically depicted wearing ram's horns.
Photo credit R. Weller/Cochise College.

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