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Triplophyllites circularis (4)

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Origin : Kentucky (U.S.A.) Hardin County - Somerset Shale Member - Salem Harrodsburg Limestones Formation

Geological era : Carboniferous - Middle Mississippian (Visean)

Age : 340 million of years

Size : 1.4 gr - mm 26 x 10 x 9

horn coral (syn. Homalophyllites circularis), 1.4 gr - mm 26 x 10 x 9.

This horn-shaped coral (horn coral) belongs to the genus Trilophyllites that lived in the mid-Mississippian period, or about 340 million years ago. It is a few centimeters long with the classic cone shape. The corals-horn belong to the extinct order Rugosa, which intuitively means wrinkled, referring to its external appearance. The horn-shaped fossil is the skeleton of this animal, or octopus. The animal lived in the upper part of the cone. They had many tentacles protruding to collect food. The tentacles gave the coral a flower-like appearance. This specimen comes from Hardin County, Kentucky (USA).

Rugosa (Milne Edwards & Haime, 1850), also called Tetracoralla, are an extinct order of solitary and colonial corals that were abundant in Middle Ordovician to Late Permian seas. Solitary rugosans (e.g., Caninia, Lophophyllidium, Neozaphrentis, Streptelasma) are often referred to as horn corals because of a unique horn-shaped chamber with a wrinkled, or rugose, wall. Some solitary rugosans reached nearly a meter in length. However, some species of rugose corals could form large colonies (e.g., Lithostrotion). When radiating septa were present, they were usually in multiples of four, hence Tetracoralla in contrast to modern Hexacoralla, colonial polyps generally with sixfold symmetry.
Rugose corals have a skeleton made of calcite that is often fossilized. Like modern corals (Scleractinia), rugose corals were invariably benthic, living on the sea floor or in a reef-framework. Some symbiotic rugose corals were endobionts of Stromatoporoidea, especially in the Silurian period. Although there is no direct proof, it is inferred that these Palaeozoic corals possessed stinging cells to capture prey. They also had tentacles to help them catch prey. Technically they were carnivores, but prey-size was so small they are often referred to as microcarnivores.

Phylum: Cnidaria (Celenterata)
Class: Anthozoa
Subclass: Hexacoralla
Order: Tetracoralla or Rugosa †
Columnariina †
Cystiphyllina †
Streptelasmatina †

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