Octopus ancestors lived before era of dinosaurs, study shows
An octopus swims at the zoo in Frankfurt, Germany on Friday, Nov. 25, 2005. In research published Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in the journal Nature Communications, scientists have described the oldest known fossil ancestor of octopuses – an approximately 330 million-year-old specimen found in Montana. Credit: AP Photo/Bernd Kammerer, File

A fossil unearthed in Montana is approximately 330 million years old.

The researchers found that the ancient creature lived millions of years earlier than they had thought.

Modern octopuses have eight limbs, each with two rows of suckers. It probably lived in the ocean bay.

It is very rare to find soft tissue fossils, except in a few places, according to a zoologist who was not involved in the study. It pushes back the ancestry far more than before.

The Royal Ontario Museum in Canada received the specimen after it was discovered in Montana.

The fossil was overlooked in a drawer for a long time. The 10 tiny limbs were encased in limestone.

Christopher Whalen, an American Museum of Natural History paleontologist and co-author of the book, said that the well-preserved fossil shows some evidence of an ink sac, which would have been used to squirt out a dark liquid cloak.

The vampire squid is a confusingly named marine creature that is much closer to an octopus than a squid. The oldest known definitive vampyropod was from around 250 million years ago, according to the authors.

The scientists named the fossil after Biden.

The scientists say they intended admiration for the president's science and research priorities, even if you don't have an ancient octopus or vampire squid.

More information: Christopher Whalen, Fossil coleoid cephalopod from the Mississippian Bear Gulch Lagerstätte sheds light on early vampyropod evolution, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-28333-5. www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-28333-5 Journal information: Nature Communications

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