"It is a new species of squid, totally new, that has not been seen in other parts of the world," paleontologist Klaus Honninger told AFP. Honninger, director of the Meyer-Honninger Paleontology Museum in the northern city of Chiclayo, said the fossil was a large cephalopod of the extinct Baculite species, known for their long straight shells.Wait a minute--if it's a totally new species of squid, how can it be a member of an extinct species? As usual, reporting is a bit muddled. Baculites is a genus, not a species. A good analogy for genus and species (which I saw most recently in Williams' Kraken, in fact) is car make and model. Mazda is like a genus, which can contain several species, of which miata is one.
The Examiner got things even more mixed up by confidently informing readers that:
The multiple species of baculites include ammonites.Whoops! Could have caught that with some Wikipedia-based fact-checking. Baculites is actually a kind of ammonite, rather than the other way around.
Of course, as an ammonite, the creature can't technically be called a squid. Squid and ammonites are in different subclasses of the class Cephalopoda. (Squid are Decapodiformes, while ammonites are Ammonoidea.) But I can understand the paleontologist's desire to equate his find to a modern, well-known group of animals.
I think the coolest part of the story is this:
"At the site, a sort of saltwater lake had formed that allowed these creatures to evolve independently," Honninger said.Whoa! Are we talking like Dead Sea level of isolation, or more like a Black Sea type of thing where there's still some exchange with the greater world ocean? Were there hypersaline ammonites?