UF 208182, the turritellid Turritella gatunensis. (Photo © IV FLMNH)

This Fossil Friday we’re going for a slight change of pace by introducing you all to an invertebrate! This specimen is an example of a turritellid, a high-spired marine snail (Phylum Mollusca, Class Gastropoda). Named Turritella gatunensis, it is found in the middle to late Miocene of Panama and several other Central and South American countries. Turritellids live in shallow marine settings and burrow just under the surface of the sediment, leaving their aperture (the large opening at the bottom of the shell seen in the photo) exposed to filter feed.

If you would like to learn more about this species of turritellid, check out the Fossils of Panama entry about it here. Two graduate students from Cornell University who worked with PCP PIRE also conducted research projects on turritellids, which you can read about in the Research section of the April 2014 eNewsletter here.