Happy Fossil Friday (one day late)!                  

 

Friday December 11, 2020

Instructor: Arthur Reed, P.G.

 

 

Brachiopod Aperispirifer Wairakiensis

 

This is Aperispirifer wairakiensis, a Permian brachiopod. Brachiopods, also known as lamp shells, are a group of filter-feeding marine animals that first arose in the early Cambrian stage (about 550 million years ago).

The fossil record of brachiopods is quite diverse and many families went extinct over time. Nowadays brachiopods are much less common, however they occupy a variety of marine environments, from the tropics to the poles. This specimen is 285.0 - 276.0 million years old and was found in Letham Burn, Southland.

Brachiopods vary considerably in size with the largest growing up to 30 centimetres across and the smallest only two or three millimetres across - about the size of a large pin head. This one measures about 7 cm across. 

 

View a short video on brachiopods from the Cooper Channel

 

 

Brachiopod fossil showing upper and lower valves (shells)

Clams instead have right and left valves (shells)

 

 

 

 

 

Location where this fossil was found

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diagram

Description automatically generated

 

 

NOTE: Corrections are always appreciated!

 

 

 

Attribution:  This page adapted from GNS Science