Brachiopods

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Reticulatia
Reticulatia
© 2004 Kansas Geological Survey

Anthracospirifer occiduus
Anthracospirifer occiduus
© 2005 R. Weller, Cochise College

Brachiopoda
Brachiopoda
© 2003 Sarah Rieboldt, UCMP

What are Brachiopods? Brachiopods are marine animals that have a calcium carbonate or calcium phosphate shell made of two valves, which usually differ in shape and size. Brachiopods are closely related to the bryozoans. Both groups possess a unique feeding and respiratory organ called a lophophore, which looks a bit like a rubber band covered with tiny hairs. Some brachiopods can cement themselves directly to hard surfaces; most have a stalk, called a pedicle, which they use to attach to a surface or to anchor themselves in the sediment of the sea floor. Brachiopods are very common fossils in Paleozoic rocks from many marine environments.

First known fossil occurrence: Cambrian.

Last known fossil occurrence: Quaternary. This group has living relatives.

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