One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A fossil marine invertebrate animal of the Palaeozoic era, forming mainly planktonic colonies and believed to be related to the pterobranchs.
Class Graptolithina, phylum Hemichordata
- ‘The boundary between the Cambrian and the Ordovician is marked by the appearance of planktic dictyonemid graptolites.’
- ‘In addition, the first planktonic graptolites evolved, though some species of graptolites became extinct.’
- ‘Other marine fossils commonly found throughout the Silurian record include trilobites, graptolites, conodonts, corals, stromatoporoids, and mollusks.’
- ‘The Ordovician is best known for the presence of its diverse marine invertebrates, including graptolites, trilobites, brachiopods, and the conodonts (early vertebrates).’
- ‘To return to our example, the usual biostratigraphic markers in Middle Paleozoic stratigraphy are graptolites, conodont ‘jaw’ parts, and thelodont scales.’
Mid 19th century: from Greek graptos ‘marked with letters’ + -lite: so named because of the impressions left on hard shales, resembling markings with a slate pencil.
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