2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 2–5, 2003)

Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


MANSHIP, Lori, Lubbock, TX 79414, ojammonite@aol.com

Analysis of ammonitic suture patterns is an important method in the identification of ammonoids. I have developed a user-friendly computer model to visually and quantitatively match ammonoid suture patterns for classification. This model uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in a new and innovative way to apply spatial analysis techniques to solve paleontological problems. The Turonian ammonite family Coilopoceratidae was chosen as the basis for this project because the similar suture patterns within the family make species-level identification a challenge. A Coilopoceras springeri suture template was made by overlaying ten different C. springeri suture patterns, using the right holotype suture pattern as the basal or designation guide. Coilopoceras colleti and Hoplitoides sandovalensis templates were also constructed. Known and unknown specimens were tested within the templates to determine species identifications. The known specimens correlated with the correct templates, and did not fall within other species’ templates. Unknown specimens clearly fit within one template better than within others, and hence clearly could be reliably classified to the species level. In addition to classification, the GIS method provides a mechanism for both visual and quantitative comparisons of individual sutures. This GIS method will aid paleontologists, biostratigraphers, geologists, and amateur collectors in classifying ammonite species, and also may help further our understanding of suture morphogenesis and function.