Modern coleoids (octopus, cuttlefish, and squid) are key taxa in marine ecosystems. Arising in the Paleozoic, the group is known to have rapidly diversified during the Mesozoic Marine Revolution, and today they represent the most diverse group of extant cephalopods. There are, however, large knowledge gaps in their evolutionary history which stem from the absence of preserved soft tissue.
This thesis aims to address this uncertainty by using soft tissue characters to add resolution to their phylogenetic relationships. Utilizing X-ray and UV-based imaging techniques, the objective is to reconstruct the soft tissue of exceptionally preserved Mesozoic coleoids from Lagerstätten in Lebanon and La Voulte sur Rhone, France. By comparing the sequence of morphological innovations and adaptations between fossil and extant taxa, it will be possible to infer paleoecology, and interpret coleoid evolution in Mesozoic ecosystems.