Specimen: Horn Coral Fossil
This table contains the geological time periods of the past 2.5 billion years on Earth to aid in understanding age immense age of these fossils.(Ma = Mega-annum = 1,000,000 years)
|EON||ERA||PERIOD||EXTENT (Ma)||DURATION (Ma)|
Horn corals are from the extinct order of corals called Rugosa after the word "rugose" which means "wrinkled" because of their wrinkled appearance.
These coral grew in a long cone shape like a bull’s horn from the seafloor. This fossil is a skeleton built from calcium carbonate from the ocean water. As it got older, more material was added to the cone so each layer was a little bigger than the previous one. This gave it the distinctive shape.
Although only the horn was easily fossilized, it also had tentacles that emerged from the opening to help catch prey. It is thought these tentacles may have possessed stinging cells as well, though this theory has not yet been proven.
Technically, these corals were carnivores, but their prey-size was so small they are often referred to as micro-carnivores.
This particular horn coral hails from present-day Morocco, and lived during the Devonian age, which began 419 million years ago and lasted for 60 million years.
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