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Paraconularia ulrichana
 


Paraconularia ulrichana fossil

Belen Formation, Calamarca, Bolivia
Devonian Age (~390 million years)
Conulariids had elongated, pyramidal exoskeletons, made up of rows of calcium phosphate rods. Most were square or rectangular in cross section, with prominent grooves at the corners. They lived attached to hard objects by a flexible stalk, and often lived in groups. Presumably they were filter feeders; how they reproduced is not known. They aren't that uncommon; there are a number of genera, and they ranged from the Middle Ordovician to the Triassic. There are even a few cases in which conulariid soft parts have been preserved. Nonetheless, exactly what they were is still not settled. Because of their fourfold symmetry, they have often been placed in the Cnidaria by analogy with the fourfold Scyphozoa. However, their skeleton was very different from anything known in the Cnidaria, and they may represent a separate, extinct phylum, probably triploblastic (see Babcock 1991 for a defense of the separate phylum hypothesis, and Van Iten 1991 for a defense of the cnidarian hypothesis). Conulariids have been a subject of speculation for over a century and a half. They ranged from the Middle Ordovician to the Triassic. The Conulariids had elongated, pyramidal exoskeletons, made up of rows of calcium phosphate rods. Most were square or rectangular in cross section, with prominent grooves at the corners. They lived attached to hard objects by a flexible stalk, and often lived in groups. They are thought to have been filter feeders; how they reproduced is not known.
Kingdom: Animalia
Pylum: Cnidaria
Class: †Scyphozoa
Order: †Conulariida
Family: †Conulariidae
Genus: †Paraconularia
Species: †ulrichana


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