Physical appearance and biologyEdit
Cameroceras was the largest animal alive during the Ordovician period. A relative of the modern day nautilus, this animal too had a shell except that instead of it being spiral-shaped, it was long and straight. Cameroceras was among the largest of the orthocones, measuring 10 to 11 metres in length. However, the majority of its length was its shell. The animal itself was quite small and lived in the last chamber. Its tentacles were each one metre long.
With its largest shell, swimming was problematic. To accelerate efficiently, Cameroceras has a powerful, fleshy tube (called a hyponome) that was situated underneath its head. The creature would force water through the hyponome at great pressure, thus pushing itself in the opposite direction - the same principle as a jet engine. Cameroceras' hyponome was flexible and could be angled so that the orthocone could move in any direction, but it seems that most orthocones were best suited to travelling forwards.
Behaviour and traitsEdit
Cameroceras probably spent their daylight hours hiding in deep water, like modern cephalopod molluscs. At night they may have moved into shallower water to hunt primitive fish, trilobites and sea scorpions like Megalograptus. It probably had poor eyesight and its eyes were very sensitive to light, so they may have smelt oout their prey using chemical sensors. With their eight tentacles (which had a grooved surface rather than the suckers of a modern squid) they would grab on to the prey and hold it, while a sharp beak (a bit like that of a parrot) slowly ripped the animal to pieces.
On his journey into the Ordovician to find a Cameroceras, Nigel Marven encountered one eating a trilobite fitting with a camera. As soon as he noticed it, he dived into the water to follow it. Whilst underwater, after observing a group of Megalograptus, Nigel encountered a Cameroceras. As the orthocone approached him, Nigel flashed his torch into its primitive eyes, repelling it. As it swam away, the Cameroceras fed on two Megalograptus. Subsequently, Nigel grabbed onto the orthocone's shell and hitched a ride. He then let go when the Cameroceras swam too deep.
- See Unidentified Orthocone (Walking with Monsters) for more details on possible appearances of Cameroceras.
Cameroceras image gallery.
Behind the scenesEdit
Although not identified in the episode, many fans speculate that the orthocone in Walking with Monsters is in fact Cameroceras due to the similar colour scheme and similar size. However, since Cameroceras never lived in the Silurian, it is debatable whether or not it actually appeared or the orthocone was a similar Silurian relative.
List of appearancesEdit
- Cameroceras was spelt as Cameraceras in The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life.