Fossil shell of a nautilus
The nautilus is a living fossil. The animal has existed in virtually unchanged form for 500 million years. 200 million years ago were the high tide days of the nautilus when numerous species were found all over the world. Today there are still six known species living in mostly tropical oceans.
Shell for protection
The nautilus is related to the squid and builds its shell for protection. These fossil shells are millions of years old and have been cut to give a glimpse into the structure of the chambers, always building a large chamber during the growth of the animal that always lives in the latter.
The name comes from the Greek 'Nautilos' meaning 'sailor' and probably has to do with the way the nautilus moves through the water with its tentacles. These specimens were found in Madagascar and are hundreds of millions of years old.