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Chapter 9b the Fossil is Part of the Rock

Chapter 9b the Fossil is Part of the Rock



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Published by Matsurika Nee Chan

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Published by: Matsurika Nee Chan on Aug 07, 2009
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(Phylum Brachiopoda)
 Time span: Early Cambrian to nowOrganism
The soft body is enclosed in a shell
consisting of two valves (Figure 9B-1;Clarkson, E.N.K., 1979, Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution: George Allen& Unwin, 323 p. Figure 7.1 and Figure 7.2). The shell is usually fixed to the seafloor by a stalk (the
) that protrudes through an opening (the
 pedicle foramen
) in one of the valves, called the
 pedicle valve
. The other, smaller, valveis called the
 brachial valve.
 Brachiopods are filter feeders
: most of the shell cavity is filled with a long,looped band called the
on which are sticky filaments with cilia thatwave to create a current through the shell cavity. Small food particles are caughtby the filaments and passed to a simple gut.
The valves are hinged or articulated for a short or long distance along oneedge. Unlike mollusks, the valves have a symmetry plane that bisects both valvesperpendicular to the hinge line; the two valves are fundamentally different inshape, not just mirror images.
The valves are usually robust 
, and they have always been of calcite, so theypreserve relatively well. Some brachiopods have chitinophosphatic instead of calcareous shells. Size varies from less than a centimeter to several centimeters.Valve shape varies widely. Ribs and growth ridges are of varying prominence.
 Brachiopods are subdivided into two classes,
.The inarticulates are those with chitinophosphatic shells. They're not very abun-dant in the fossil record and they're not very useful stratigraphically, but they'reinteresting because they're so well adapted and evolutionarily conservative: onegenus,
, has been around since the Early Cambrian!The articulates are subdivided into six orders, whose names we won't burdenyou with. Figure 9B-2 (Clarkson, E.N.K., 1979, Invertebrate Palaeontology andEvolution: George Allen & Unwin, 323 p. Figure 7.13) shows a variety of different forms. These orders have various time spans, and varying degrees of importance during their time spans. Only three have not become extinct.
Chapter 9B FOSSILS
Brachiopods were a major component of invertebrate faunas in the past,
especially in the Paleozoic
; their heyday was from the beginning of theOrdovician to the end of the Permian. They are of only minor importance now.The shells are usually well preserved, and they are stratigraphically important,especially in the mid-Paleozoic.
Brachiopods are
attached bottom dwellers
, on various sediment types; theyare exclusively marine, usually shallow.
Brachiopods are the most common fossil you'll find in many Lower andMiddle Paleozoic rocks. Warning: you can see the same brachiopod in variousviews, because there's an inner and an outer surface to each of the two valves, andyou see each of the four surfaces in either positive or negative. Sometimes just thecemented filling (called a
) of the still-articulated shell is preserved; thislooks like a shell itself, but it's the negative of both the inner surfaces.234
Chapter 9B FOSSILS
(Phylum Bryozoa)
Time span: Late Cambrian to nowOrganism
 Bryozoans are colonial marine invertebrates
. The individual organism,called a
is in the shape of a cylinder with a ring of retractable tentaclescoming out of the top (Figure 9B-3; Clarkson, E.N.K., 1979, InvertebratePalaeontology and Evolution: George Allen & Unwin, 323 p. Figure 6.1 andShrock, R.R., and Twenhofel, W.H., 1953, Principles of InvertebratePaleontology: McGraw-Hill, 816 p. Figure 7_41). Cilia on the tentacles wave tocreate a current toward the base of the tentacles. Plankton brought in by thiscurrent are caught by the tentacles and carried down into the gut within thecylindrical body.The zooid is housed in a skeleton called the
which may or may not bemineralized. The zooids always live in a closely packed colony called a zoarium.Bryozoans superficially resemble colonial corals, but they are more advancedphysiologically. They have some fundamental physiological similarities tobrachiopods (but their fossil record looks entirely different).
The calcareous colonies take on a wide variety of forms: they look like cups,leaves, branches, tufts, globs, and even spirals (Figure 9B-4; Shrock, R.R., andTwenhofel, W.H., 1953, Principles of Invertebrate Paleontology: McGraw-Hill,816 p. Figure 7_44). Usually you see fragments of colonies rather than wholecolonies.
Bryozoans are divided into three classes, two of which appeared in theOrdovician and one in the Mesozoic. One of the orders of the class Stenolaematawere the dominant bryozoans in the Paleozoic, and another order of that classwere the dominant bryozoans in the Mesozoic.
Bryozoans are fairly abundant throughout the fossil record, and you'll seesome rocks that contain mostly fragments of bryozoan colonies, but they're not ascommon as some other kinds of fossils. The species are mostly wide-ranging intime and therefore not very useful stratigraphically.
Today, bryozoans are found at all depths from the shoreline down totrenches, but they're most abundant in shallow water. They need a fairly firmsubstrate on which to anchor and grow colonies, so they're not common on muddybottoms. Strong currents and waves are destructive of the relatively fragile235

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