name = "Hamites"
fossil_range = Early - Late
image_caption = A Reconstruction of the heteromorph
ammonite "Hamites gardneri"
subclassis = Ammonoidea
ordo = Ammonitida
genus = "Hamites"
subdivision_ranks = Subgenera
subdivision = "
"Hamites" ("Hook-stone") is a
genusof heteromorph ammonitethat evolved late in the Aptianstage of the Early Cretaceousand lasted into the Cenomanianstage of the Late Cretaceous. The genus is almost certainly paraphyleticbut remains in wide use as a "catch all" for heteromorph ammonitesof the superfamily Turrilitaceaethat do not neatly fit into the more derivedgroupings. In an attempt to identify cladeswithin the genus, it has been divided up into a series of new genera or subgenera by different palaeontologists, including "Eohamites", "Hamitella", "Helicohamites", "Lytohamites", "Planohamites", "Psilohamites", and "Sziveshamites". [Szives O. & Monks N. 2002. Heteromorphs of the Tata Limestone Formation (Aptian - Lower Albian), Hungary. Palaeontology, 44, 1137-1149 [http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/files/hungarian_heteros.pdf] ] [Monks N. 2002. Cladistic analysis of a problematic ammonite group: the Hamitidae (Cretaceous, Albian - Turonian) and proposals for new cladistic terms. Palaeontology, 44, 687-707 [http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/files/hamitidae.pdf] ]
The type species is "Hamites attenuatus" from the early Albian, named by
James Sowerbyin his "Mineral Conchology of Great Britain" of 1814, although the genus itself was created by James Parkinsonin his 1811 book "Organic Remains of the Former World". This James Parkinson is best known as the first scientific description of a disease he called the "Shaking Palsy", now referred to as Parkinson's diseasein his honour. [ cite journal
author = Parkinson J
title = An essay on the shaking palsy. 1817
journal = J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci | volume = 14 | issue = 2
pages = 223–36; discussion 222 | year = 2002 | pmid = 11983801
doi = 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.14.2.223 ]
Morphology and ecology
"Hamites" species are characterised by a shell that began with an open, sometimes helical, regular spiral that either opened into a single large hook [http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/Projects/ammonitereconstr.html] , or else formed three parallel shafts that gave the mature shell the approximate appearance of a
paper clip[http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/Projects/ammonitereconstr.html] . No "Hamites" had spines or other such ornamentation on the shell, but several species appear to have developed apertural modifications when mature; that is, once the ammonite had grown to its final size, the aperture became constricted and was bounded by one or two thickened ribs, known as collars. These have been observed on other ammonites as well, and are assumed to be signs of sexual dimorphism. [Monks N. 1999. Cladistic analysis of Albian heteromorph ammonites. Palaeontology, 42, 907-925 [http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/files/cladistics_albian_heteros.pdf] ] [Monks N. 2002. Cladistic analysis of a problematic ammonite group: the Hamitidae (Cretaceous, Albian - Turonian) and proposals for new cladistic terms. Palaeontology, 44, 687-707 [http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/files/hamitidae.pdf] ] .
The open shell of these ammonites would have made them poor swimmers because of drag, but beyond that fact, very little is certain about their mode of life. It is widely assumed that they were planktonic, perhaps catching small prey in the manner of
jellyfish, but repaired shell damage apparently caused by crabs may indicate that they spent at least some time close to the sea floor. [Trueman A. 1941. The ammonite body-chamber, with special reference to the buoyancy and mode of life of the living animal. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, 384, 339-383] [Monks N. 2000. Mid Cretaceous heteromorph ammonite shell damage. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 66, 283-285]
The genus "Hamites" is of particular interest to palaeontologists because the species included in the genus span a wide range of morphologies including ones apparently similar to several more
derivedgroups of heteromorph ammonites. The genus rapidly diversified during the Albianinto a number of morphologically distinct lineages that seem to have given rise to at least three other families of heteromorphs, the Baculitidae, Turrilitidae, and Scaphitidae. [Monks N. 1999. Cladistic analysis of Albian heteromorph ammonites. Palaeontology, 42, 907-925 [http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/files/cladistics_albian_heteros.pdf] ] [Monks N. 2000. Phylogeny of the Scaphitidae. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 66, 205-216] The lineage that gave rise to the helical Turrilitidae, for example, had a shell that initially grew as a helix before straightening out; the Turrilitidae thus appear to have been derived from neotenic"Hamites" that retained the helically-coiled juvenile morphology of "Hamites" into adulthood. [Monks N. 2001. The functional morphology of "Hamites" and "Stomohamites" and the origins of the Turrilitidae. Bollettino Malacologico, 36, 195-200]
* [http://www.gaultammonite.co.uk/Pages/Link_Pages/Family_Hamitidae.htm Gault Clay Ammonites, featuring "Hamites" and other Hamitidae]
* [http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/Projects/ammonitereconstr.html Reconstructions of "Hamites" and related genera]
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