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Belemnites lived during the periods of Earth history known as the Jurassic and Cretaceous. Belemnites were marine animals. Their closest living relatives are squid and cuttlefish. They had a squid-like body but, unlike modern squid, they had a hard internal skeleton. In the animal's tail, this formed a bullet-shaped feature. It is these parts which are normally found as fossils.

Belemnites can be 65 to 200 million years old. They lived in the sea and can be found in sedimentary rocks.

Belemnites take their name from the Greek word belemnon meaning dart or javelin. The fossilised rostra were widely believed to have been flung down as darts from heaven during thunderstorms (thunderbolts). Some have a finger-like shape and, in folklore, they have been called devil's fingers and St Peter's fingers.


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