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Ammonites were free-swimming mollusks of the ancient oceans, living around the same time that the dinosaurs walked the Earth and disappearing during the same extinction event. They came in a range of sizes, from tiny species only a couple of centimeters across, to large ones reaching over two meters in diameter. The animal would have lived in the last and largest of a chain of spiraled chambers. Filling these chambers with fluid or gas allowed the ammonite to sink like a stone to avoid predators, though ammonite shells with tooth marks on them have been found, evidence that it didn't always work. Fossilized shells are usually, but not always, beautiful spirals.
The ammonite agoniatite has beautiful patterns and coils. The ancient creature would grow and continue to build a shell to cover its soft body parts. The creatures would continue to wrap around themselves numerous times and thus the fossils show the growth of the creature, much like the growth lines on a tree.
The agoniatite is a Devonian age variety of ammonite. It is approximately 345 million to 395 million years old. Some believe the fossils show cycles and lifetimes, as the coils never end.
This fossil requires special care - exposure to water and other chemicals, such as cleaning products or aerosols, will damage it over time. If you polish the stone, use a dry cloth only, or an air duster that does not contain any disinfectant or other chemicals.