Styleoctopus annae LO1



Phylum Mollusca, Class Cephalopoda, Subclass Coleoidea, Superorder Octopodiformes, Order Octopoda, Octopodidae

GEOLOGICAL AGE:  Middle Cretaceous, Late Cenomanian Stage (approximately 95 million years old)

STRATIGRAPHIC FORMATION:  Sannine Limestone Lagerstatten

LOCATION:  Haqel, Lebanon

DESCRIPTION:  This is a magnificent example of an extinct genus of octopus, Styleoctopus annae, of which this is the lone species.  Dating to approximately 95 million years ago, this specimen is distinctive both for its amazing preservation and rarity, as very few octopus species are represented in the fossil record, a consequence of the soft tissue which comprise the specimens and which rarely escapes decomposition.  Other species, also derived from the Lebanese lagerstatten include Palaeoctopus, a primitive octopod of the Late Cretaceous of 71-89 millions years ago and derived from the Mount Hgula region.  The holotype was found below the Old Convent of Sahel-el-Alma, Mount Lebanon and is currently housed in Natural History Museum of London.  Keuppia is a third extinct genus of octopus originating from the Lebanese deposits, and consists of the two species Keuppia hyperbolaris and Keuppia levante, each living approximately 95 million years ago.  Found in both the Haqil and Hgula localities of Lebanon,  Keuppia is distinctive in demonstrating the presence of a gladius, or pen vestige, the feather-shaped, chitinous internal structure that supports the squid’s mantle and serves as the site for muscle attachment.  This genus therefore discloses the transition from squid to octopus in which the inner shell is divided in two in early forms, to eventually give rise to the lateralized stylets as seen in Styleoctopus.

Five arms are clearly represented in this specimen of Styleoctopus annae, with the sixth appearing to extend behind the body of the animal.  The tip of the sixth arm is possibly apparent to the left of the cephalad portion of the body.  This specimen exhibits such remarkable preservation that a number of the viscera are readily apparent, such as the ink sac, possibly the crop, the beak, the fine structure of the gills, the siphon and other viscera representative of possibly the heart/kidney/gonad or other structures.  The phosphatized mantle cavity is clearly demarcated.  Such remarkable preservation is exquisitely rare in the fossil record, making this an incredibly rare fossil sure to serve as a centerpiece of any serious fossil archive.  Accompanying this specimen is an interpretive diagram which outlines the arrangement of viscera and other structures that can be perceived within this very fine fossil.

GRADE:  4.38 (Out of 5.0) Please see grading system

SIZE:  SPECIMEN-5.9 cm x 1.3 cm
  MATRIX-8.9 cm x 8.9 cm x 1.1 cm


PRICE:  $2,250.00


Click here for more detailed information about the Fossils of Lebanon and other topics within the PaleoElegance Compendium.