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Brachiopod Fossils

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We have 12 different types of brachiopods for sale here including wholesale bulk packages. You will find brachs ranging in age from the Silurian Period about 424 mya to the Cretaceous Period about 107 mya. We currently have Braciopods from North America, Europe and Africa.

brachiopod fossil drawing

What is a Brachiopod?

Brachiopods are marine animals that live on the ocean floor. They have two shells called valves and get their food by filtering seawater for plankton. Brachiopods have a muscular foot called a pedicule. With this they can anchor themselves to the sea floor and even lift themselves up off the bottom of the ocean as pictured in the drawing at the bottom of the page.. 

Brachiopods are found in today's oceans but they are rarely seen because these animals inhabit very deep ocean regions.Brachiopods are one of the oldest lifeforms in today’s oceans.

How to identify a Brachiopod

At first glance brachiopods look like clams. They have two shells called valves like clams. In fact they are not related to clams at all. They belong to the phylum Lophophorata and are related to bryozoans. Looking closer at their shells it is easy to tell a brachiopod from a clam. Each valve or shell on a clam are identicle to each other. Brachiopods have one shell bigger than the other and each valve is shaped differently. The valves have a special feature called a sulcus. The sulcus is a groove in the middle of one valve and a ridge on the other.

spindle chart of brachiopod diversity during the Phanerozoic Eon.

Fossil Brachiopods

Brachiopods are one of the oldest lifeforms in today’s oceans. The first brachiopods lived in the oceans of the Cambrian Period. They were plentiful all during the Paleozoic Era. Take a look at the spindle chart on the right. This chart shows how brachiopods have fared through the ages as a group. The width of the chart represents the sheer numbers and the diversity of species. You can see that the numbers of brachiopods declined sharply in the great extinction at the end of the Permian Period . They have never returned to the dominance of the Paleozoic. Brachiopods were the most plentiful during the Devonian Period. Today there are about 300 living kinds of brachiopods that belong to 3 orders. They are:
The Lingulata
The Rhynchonellida
The Terebratulida.

Because brachiopods were so plentiful during the Paleozoic Era they are common fossils. So generally they are not worth very much. Some species are rare though and so can be worth a good price. 

brachiopod drawing

Learn more about Brachiopods

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