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Temporal range: Early Ordovician–Early Jurassic
Mucrospirifer mucronatus Silica Shale.JPG
Mucrospirifer mucronatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Brachiopoda
Class: Rhynchonellata
Order: Spiriferida
Waagen, 1883

See text.

A Devonian spiriferid brachiopod from Ohio which served as a host substrate for a colony of hederellids.

Spiriferida is an order of extinct articulate brachiopod fossils which are known for their long hinge-line, which is often the widest part of the shell. In some genera (e.g. Mucrospirifer) it is greatly elongated, giving them a wing-like appearance. They often have a deep fold down the center of the shell. The feature that gives the spiriferids their name ("spiral-bearers") is the internal support for the lophophore; this brachidium, which is often preserved in fossils, is a thin ribbon of calcite that is typically coiled tightly within the shell.

Spiriferids first appear in the Early Ordovician. They were rare during the Silurian but underwent a dramatic evolutionary radiation during the Devonian period, reaching peak development in variety and numbers. Spiriferida survived the great Permian extinction, finally becoming extinct during the Early Jurassic.

Fossils of this order are often preserved as pyrite.


Order Spiriferida

See also[edit]