One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An extinct marine invertebrate animal of the Paleozoic era, forming mainly planktonic colonies and believed to be related to the pterobranchs.
- ‘The boundary between the Cambrian and the Ordovician is marked by the appearance of planktic dictyonemid graptolites.’
- ‘The Ordovician is best known for the presence of its diverse marine invertebrates, including graptolites, trilobites, brachiopods, and the conodonts (early vertebrates).’
- ‘Other marine fossils commonly found throughout the Silurian record include trilobites, graptolites, conodonts, corals, stromatoporoids, and mollusks.’
- ‘To return to our example, the usual biostratigraphic markers in Middle Paleozoic stratigraphy are graptolites, conodont ‘jaw’ parts, and thelodont scales.’
- ‘In addition, the first planktonic graptolites evolved, though some species of graptolites became extinct.’
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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