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The first fossil cephalopod statoliths to be described from Europe


Statoliths of cephalopods are small, hard calcareous stones which lie within the cartilaginous skulls of octopods, sepioids and teuthoids1. Fossil statoliths, clearly belonging to genera which are alive today, have previously been described from 11 Cenozoic deposits spanning from the Eocene to the Pleistocene in North America2–5. Such statoliths are of particular interest because they provide a means of studying the evolution of living cephalopod groups which have no calcareous shells, including the cosmopolitan and numerous teuthoids and octopods. Here, the first cephalopod statoliths to be recognized in European deposits are described and identified as Loligo sp. They are compared with the North American fossil Loligo species and statoliths removed from the two living Loligo species of Europe.

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