Ancient “paper clip squid” may have lived up to 200 years old, study says

An unusual-look underwater creature called Diplomoceras maximum existed about 68 million years ago,media CNET reported. Diplomoceras is nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and its shell looks like a paper clip. And according to new scientific research presented last week at an online meeting of the American Geological Society, the chrysanthemum, an extinct tentacle-footed animal, may have lived a long time.

Emily Artruc, a professor and researcher at Syracus University in New York, found clues that Diplomoceras maximum may have lived to the age of 200. The evidence comes from chemical “signatures” found in samples taken from parts of its shell 20 inches (50 cm) long.

When Ivany and Artruc examined carbon and oxygen isotopes in the shell, they found repeated patterns in isotope signals. New Scientist reported Wednesday that they concluded that the “signatures” show methane released from the ocean floor each year. This pattern coincides with a carved ridge perpendicular to the length of a shell. This suggests that the creature adds a new texture to its shell each year, a discovery that could help scientists determine the lifespan of the creature.

It is important to note that today’s living vertega animals — octopuses and squid — can only live to about five years old. Shelled cocks, such as Nautilus, can live into their 20s.

Diplomoceras maximum life span may be related to the slow metabolism of the creature. Scientists speculate that it lives near Antarctica, where freezing weather conditions may mean a lack of food supplies. According to a 2016 study by the University of Leeds, Diplomoceras maximum and dinosaurs experienced mass extinctions around the same time.

Now, scientists have a better understanding of the lifespan of Diplomoceras maximum, hoping to learn more about this unusual marine life.

“If you know something about the lifespan of a creature, you learn a lot about its ecology, ” says Ivany.