A social gathering in the Cambrian era, beginning some 540 million years ago, might have resembled an underwater war game—all life resided in the ocean then and almost every creature present would have been wearing some sort of external armor, complete with spiked helmets. The ancestors of insects and crustaceans wore full exoskeletons, probably made from a mixture of protein and chitin like the shells of modern lobsters. Starfishlike organisms and mollusks manufactured their body armor from calcium carbonate extracted from seawater. Even one fishlike evolutionary dead-end, the ostracoderm, managed somehow to swim while encased in scales and heavy plates made of true bone—that is, mineralized cartilage rich in calcium and phosphates.