Belemnite, fossil squid or devils fingers
Fossil squid from the Netherlands
Belemnites were a species of squid that lived around the time of the dinosaurs. Approximately 70 million years ago they were common in the shallow sea of the current province of Limburg in the Netherlands. The Maas lizard or mosasaurus was at the head of the food chain in this sea.
The belemnites belonged to the cephalopods and is an extinct subclass of the Coleoidea. A striking feature of the animal was the straight tailpiece called the rostrum. It is this part that we find today as belemnite. It was probably used as a stabilizer for hunting. The tentacles of the belemnite did not have suction cups but barbs. With these it could actively hunt for its prey.
Lightning strike and devil's fingers
The belemnites have been found in southern Limburg for a long time. It used to be thought that the belemnites were shot to Earth by the god of thunder during a thunderstorm. They were given the name: 'Donnerkeil' which means lightning strike. However, there are also writings in which they are called 'devil's fingers'. By grinding belemnites they were considered to be beneficial and medicinal.