|“||And there it is. This is Cameroceras. It's an Orthocone, a distant relative of squid and cuttlefish, but they're as long as a truck! That is the biggest predator that the world has seen up until this time.||„|
| — Allen, on Cameroceras|
in Eye of the Beast
Cameroceras (name meaning "Chambered Horn") also called the Giant Orthocone, is a genus of giant orthoconic cephalopod that originated during the Late Ordovician Era in what is now North America and Asia. Measuring 11 meters in length, it was not only the largest predator during its time as well as the largest known giant orthocones, but was also the largest creature to have ever existed on Earth before its extinction. Ancestors of modern-day squid, they had a keen sense of smell and poor eyesight and fed on trilobites and sea scorpions.
Cameroceras was first encountered in the episode "Eye of the Beast" in which four individuals were brought back from the Late Ordovician 450 million years ago. They reside in the Primeval Aquarium exhibit.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Cameroceras lived during the Ordovician and the Silurian, between 470 – 408 million years ago, living alongside a variety of other sea creatures, including trilobites, sea scorpions, fish, and even other Cameroceras. It was the largest and apex predator of its time. Cameroceras was first described by Timothy Abbott Conrad in 1842.
Cameroceras was the largest animal alive during the Ordovician period as well as the largest of the Orthocones, measuring 32 – 36 feet (10 – 11 m) in length, as long as a truck, and weighing around 1 ton (2,000 lb). However, the majority of its length was its long, cone-shaped shell, which was covered in stripes. The animal itself was quite small and lived in the last chamber. Its tentacles were each one meter long, which, unlike the tentacles of modern cephalopods like the cuttlefish and the squid, didn't range in size, but were of a generally similar length. Also, these tentacles didn't have suction cups, but rather the tentacles were ridged on their inner side.
It had large, primitive eyes that were sensitive to contact with bright lights. In the center of its face was a large, sharp, parrot-like beak that was used to crush through carapaces of such arthropods like Megalograptus as well as larger Trilobites.
Due to its overall squid-like appearance, Cameroceras was a distant ancestor of modern-day squid and cuttlefish. 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. It's a large mollusk that belonged to the nautiloids, such as the modern Nautilus. With its large shell, swimming was problematic. The shell was largely hollow, the mollusk occupied only its front end, and the rest of it consisted of gas-filled chambers that could be flooded with water, which could be expelled lately. In this manner, Cameroceras adjusted its buoyancy and weight as it rose to the surface or sank - this creature wasn't very maneuverable.
To accelerate efficiently, Cameroceras had a powerful, fleshy tube-shaped device called a hyponome that was situated underneath its head. This was used to propel the animal through the water. 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 traveling forwards.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Cameroceras spent a lot of time in deep water. Light didn't penetrate too well down in deep waters, so their eyes didn't work well, so they relied on another sense. They caught prey with their tentacles and drug their prey back to their mouth where there's a beak, just like modern-day squids. They actually smelled out their prey and then crush them to bits. Although these sea monsters are the top predators of Ordovician times, they couldn't swim very fast.