Octopus ancestors lived before the dinosaur era, studies show

Washington (AP) — Scientists have discovered the oldest known ancestor of the octopus, a fossil about 330 million years old that was excavated in Montana.

Researchers have concluded that ancient creatures lived millions of years earlier than previously believed. In other words, the octopus originated before the dinosaur era.

The 4.7-inch (12 cm) fossil has 10 limbs, and the modern octopus has 8 limbs, each with two rows of suction cups. It probably lived in a shallow tropical sea bay.

“Except in some places, it is very rare to find fossils of soft tissue,” said Mike Vecchione, a zoologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History who was not involved in the study. “This is a very exciting discovery. It pushes back ancestors far more than previously known.”

Specimen was found in Montana Bear Garchi Limestone formation and donated to the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada in 1988.

For decades, fossils were overlooked in drawers while scientists were studying fossil sharks and other discoveries from their location. However, paleontologists noticed ten small limbs wrapped in limestone.

Well-preserved fossils “show evidence of ink sac,” said Christopher Hollen, a paleontologist and collaborator at the American Museum of Natural History.Author of a study published in the journal on Tuesday Nature Communications.

The creature vampire can be the ancestor of both modern octopus and vampire squid. This is a misleadingly named marine organism that is much closer to an octopus than a squid. Previously, the authors said that the “oldest known and definitive” vampire was about 240 million years old.

Scientists named the fossil Syllipsimopodibideni after President Joe Biden.

Whether the ancient octopus (or vampire squid) has your name is actually a compliment, but scientists say they intended to praise the president’s scientific and research priorities.


The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Science Education Department of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.