Large Iridescent Ammonite

Cretaceous, 100 MYA
Location: Madagascar

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Discovered in the Mahajanga province of Madagascar, these ammonites have taken on a brilliant, rainbow iridescence. This is the result of an opal-like layer known as nacre (or mother of pearl), which is the same type of substance that gives the inside of modern oyster and abalone shells their rainbow hue. Under the right conditions, chalky sediment can preserve the nacre found on ammonoid shells during the fossilization process—leading to a beautifully colored fossil.

What were ammonites?

Ammonites are the fossilized remains of ammonoids, a group of extinct mollusk-like animals that are most closely related to squids and cuttlefish today. These creatures filled earth's oceans for over 340 million years, until vanishing along with the dinosaurs in the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period.


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