Archimedes (bryozoan)

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Temporal range: Carboniferous–Permian
Fenestellidae - Archimedes species.JPG
Fossil stalks of Archimedes from Illinois, on display at Galerie de paléontologie et d'anatomie comparée in Paris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Bryozoa
Class: Stenolaemata
Order: Fenestrida
Family: Fenestellidae
Genus: Archimedes[1]
Owen, 1838

Archimedipora d'Orbigny, 1849

Archimedes is a genus of Bryozoans belonging to the family Fenestellidae. The first use of the term "Archimedes" in relation to this genus was in 1838.[2]


This genus of bryozoans is named Archimedes because of its corkscrew shape, in analogy to the Archimedes' screw, a type of water pump which inspired modern ship propellers. These forms are pretty common as fossils but they have been extinct since the Permian.


  • Archimedes orientalis Schulga-Nesterenko 1936
  • Archimedes regina Crockford 1947
  • Archimedes stuckenbergi Nikiforova 1938


Fossil range[edit]

These bryozoans lived from the Carboniferous period (Tournaisian age) to the Permian period (Leonard age) (345.3 to 268.0 Ma), when this genus became extinct. [3][4]


Right frame 
Fossilized skeleton of Archimedes Bryozoan.

Archimedes were tubular-shaped zooids part of colonial animals. In life the individual animals formed spiral sheets that were attached to a central corkscrew skeletal structure. The whole structure would be attached to the seafloor or a shell. These bryozoans were stationary epifaunal suspension feeders. [3]

The live creature had a delicate calcareous lattice structure [5] representative of fenestrate growth forms, but in most fossils these latices have been destroyed, leaving only the spiral backbone.


The majority of fossils of this genus are distributed throughout Europe and North America, but they have also been found in sediments of Afghanistan, Canada, Russia, and Australia. [3]


  1. ^ Col, Jeananda, 'Archimedes', Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary, 1996, accessed March 8, 2011
  2. ^ Duncan, Helen M. and W.H. Easton. "Archimedes and its Genotype." Journal of Paleontology. SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology. Vol. 27, No. 5 (Sep., 1953), pp. 737–741.
  3. ^ a b c d The Paleobiology Database
  4. ^ Sepkoski, Jack Sepkoski's Online Genus Database - Bryozoa
  5. ^ Arduini, Paolo. Simon & Schuster's Guide to Fossils, 1986, p. 33