A large group of bigfin reef squid


The cephalopods are a class of molluscs. Members include octopuses, squids, cuttlefish, nautiluses and the fossil ammonites. They are characterised by a ring of tentacles around their mouth, and swim using a form of jet propulsion by squirting water out of their body. All cephalopods are carnivorous.

Scientific name: Cephalopoda

Rank: Class

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Prehistoric life

All Prehistoric Cephalopods

Fossil types

Learn more about the other animals and plants that also form these fossils.

Exceptional preservation Exceptional preservation
Normally, only the hard parts of animals and plants - shell, bone, teeth and wood - are preserved as fossils. However, every now and then conditions permit the preservation of soft parts and create treasure houses of information for palaeontologists.


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Molluscs
  4. Cephalopods

BBC News about Cephalopods

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    Narrated by Sir David Attenborough Planet Earth was the ground-breaking series that explored the wild and beautiful parts of our planet like never before.