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Squid are invertebrates. Fossilization of organisms without any hard parts is extremely rare. The only part of the squid that fossilizes is the gladius, or pen, which is composed of stiff rods of connective tissue combined as a substance called chitin. This internal element provides structural support for the squid. The largest squid that lived in the Western Interior Seaway reached an approximate length of 18 m (60 feet) including the tentacles. Squid belong to a zoological classification known as the Cephalopods which also includes ammonites and octopus.
The squid fossils discovered in southern Manitoba belong to an extinct family known only from the Jurassic sediments of Germany and the Cretaceous sediments of North America. The specimens from southern Manitoba are among the largest known, and are also the most northern known occurrence of these large and mysterious cephalopods in the Western Interior Seaway.