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1980 | 25 | 3-4 |

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On the relationship between Rugosa and Scleractinia (summary)

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Mesozoic-Cenozoic scleractinian corals were not derived by descent from late Paleozoic rugose corals. Rather, they probably originated from a group of Paleozoic sea anemones that survived into the Mesozoic after the extinction of the Rugosa at the end of the Paleozoic. This conclusion is based on three arguments: 1. all scleractinians have cyclic septal insertion in contrast to the serial insertion of rugosans; there are no intermediates; 2. scleractinians have aragonite skeletons; those of rugosans are calcite; 3. there are no Lower Triassic corals. It is unlikely that two important characters (points 1 and 2) would change so drastically during the only stage in the history of the corals in which no corals are known (point 3).

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  • U. S. Geological Survey, E-305 Natural History Bldg, Smithsonian Institution~Washington D. C. 20560, USA


  • CUIF, J.-P. 1977. Arguments pour une relation phylétique entre les Madréporaires paléozoïques et ceux du Trias: implications systématique de l'analyse microstructural des Madréporaires triasiques. - Mém. Soc. Géol. France, n.s., 56, 129, 1-54.
  • FLÜGEL, H. W. 1975. Skelettentwicklung, Ontogenie, und Funktionsmorphologie rugoser Korallen. - Paläont. Z., 49(4), 407-431.
  • HILL, D. 1935. British terminology for rugose corals. - Geol. Mag., 72, 481-519.
  • ILJINA, T. G. 1965. [Tetracorals from the Upper Permian and Lower Triassic of Transcaucasia]. - Tr. Paleont. Inst., 107, 105pp (in Russian).
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  • KUMMEL, B. 1973. Aspects of the Lower Triassic (Scythian) Stage. - Mem. Canad. Soc. Petrol. Geol., 2, 557-571.
  • - and TEICHERT, C. 1973. The Permian-Triassic boundary beds in central Tethys. - Ibidem, 2, 17-34.
  • LOWENSTAM, H. A. 1964. Biologic problems relating to the composition and diagenesis of sediments. In: T. W. Donnelly (ed.), The Earth Sciences. Rice University Semicentennial Publication, 137-195.
  • MONTANARO-GALLITELLI, E, 1975. Hexanthiniaria, a new order of Zoantharia (Anthozoa, Coelenterata). - Boll. Soc. Paleont. Italiana, 14(1), 35-39.
  • SANDBERG, P. A. 1975. Bryozan diagenesis: bearing on the nature of the original skeleton of rugose corals. - J. PaLeont., 49, 587-606.
  • SAYUTINA, T. A. 1965. [Devonian colonial rugose corals from Transcaucasia]. - Paleont. Zh., 5, 4-10 (in Russian).
  • SCHINDEWOLF, O. H. 1942. Zur Kenntnis der Polycoelien und Plerophyllen. Eine Studie über den Bau der "Tetrakorallen" und ihre Beziehungen zu den Madreporarien. - Abh. R.-A. Bodenforsch., n.s., 204, 324 p.
  • SORAUF, J. E. 1977. Microstructure and magnesium content in Lophophyllidium from the Lower Pennsylvanian of Kentucky. - J. Paleont. 51, 150-169.
  • WELLS, J. W. 1956. Scleractinia. In: R. C. Moore (ed.), Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, part F, 328-477. Geological Society of America and Kansas University Press, Lawrence.
  • WEYER, D. 1972. Zur Morphologie der Rugosa (Pterocorallia). - Geologie, 21 (6), 710-737.

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