Taxonomic Relationships and Paleoecological Significance of Two Exceptionally Large Lower Jaws of Late Cretaceous Ammonoids from Japan

Kazushige Tanabe, Akihiro Misaki, Tetsuya Ikeda, Masataka Izukura, Kazuyoshi Moriya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Two exceptionally large cephalopod jaws collected from the Upper Cretaceous marine deposits of the Hidaka area, Hokkaido (Yezo Group), and Awaji Island, Southwest Japan (Izumi Group), respectively, are described. Further, their taxonomic relationships and functional morphologic aspect for feeding are discussed. Based on a comparison to counterparts of modern and extinct cephalopods, they were identified as the lower jaws of ammonoids. Owing to the development of a thick calcareous tip in the large outer chitinous lamella, the lower jaw from the Yezo Group is classified as a rhychaptychus-type known from the Cretaceous Lytoceratina and Phylloceratina. The lower jaw from the Izumi Group lacks a sharply pointed calcareous tip and is characterized by a posteriorly elongated outer chitinous lamella, whose outer surface is sculptured by a median furrow in the anterior portion. These features categorize it as an intermediate-type lower jaw shared by the Cretaceous Desmoceratoidea. As determined from the co-occurring ammonoids and the relationship between the dimensions of in situ lower jaws and conchs for ammonoids previously described, the two lower jaws from the Yezo and Izumi groups were, respectively, thought to belong to large gaudryceratid and pachydiscid specimens, both of which have shell diameters greater than 40 cm. The overall shape and structure of the two lower jaws suggest a scavenging-predatory feeding habit for the gaudryceratid and a passive microphagous habit for the pachydiscid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-165
Number of pages14
JournalPaleontological Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 1



  • ammonoids
  • feeding habits
  • Japan
  • Late Cretaceous
  • lower jaws

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Palaeontology

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