This page is best viewed in desktop mode. If you are using a mobile device, you can switch to desktop site using the switch link at the bottom of the page. Additional tools are available under Geology 491 – Paleobiology and the identification steps chart here. For more in-depth detailed information on how we classify the following fossils, please read, Classification of Fossils.
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Kingdoms (largest divisions)
Note: The classifications used by the University of Calgary may differ from the materials on Wikipedia and other sources. This list is NOT specific to UofC classes such as 391/491. However, this may be used for reducing confusion.
- Phylum Porifera
- Class Stromatoporata
- Genus Stromatoporoids (figure)
- Phylum Cnidaria
- Class Anthozoa
- Sub Class Zoantharia
- Order Tabulata Ordovician – Permian
- Genus Catenipora (image1 | image2 | image3 | figure) Ordovician – Silurian
Chain coral; looks like links on a chain. The cross sectional view is usually have flat lines.
- Genus Favosites (image1 | image2 | figure) Ordovician – Devonian
Not to be confused with G: Lithostrotion and G: Hexagonaria. Honeycomb coral; closely packed polygonal and tubular structures. The center of each polygon has a slight depression while the longitudinal sides should have tiny “holes”.
- Genus Heliolites (figure) Silurian – Devonian
Tubular structures. The cop view will most likely seen as somewhat circular “dots” (but they are actually shaped like flowers”).
- Genus Syringopora (image1 | image2 | image3 | figure) Silurian – Pennsylvanian
Small tubes often in mm in diameter. Often braches and looks like “worms”, “spaghetti” or “string of poop”. Highly concave (saggy) tabulae can be observed on thin section.
- Order Rugosa Ordovician – Permian
- Genus Heliophyllum (image1 | image2 | image3 | figure) Lower – Mid Devonian
If the sample is a complete one, the external shape is look like a “horn”. The inside of structures should have striations which may appear as a floor like from the top cross sectional view.
- Genus Lithostrotion (image1 | image2 | image3 | figure) Mississippian – Pennsylvanian = Carboniferous
Not to be confused with G: Favosites and G: Hexagonaria. They looks very similar due to polygonal shape. However, this is NOT closely (“tightly”) packed compared to G: Favosites. They also usually have 2-3 rows of dissepiments and have domed (curved) the tabulae (better to observe on thin section).
- Genus Hexagonaria (image1 | image2 | image3 | image4) Devonian
6-8 rows of dissepiments is a unique feature (slide or thin section is better for observation). Colonial life form with flat tabulae.
- Order Scleractinia (image | figure) Triassic – Holocene = Modern day
Top view may looks like a mafia cut out human brain. But individually they should look like “pellets” of hamster poop. They add the septas in cycles in which each cycle consist of “in-between” additions. For example, if I am a Scleractinia type guy, I would add 6 first then, 6 + 6 + 12 + 12 + 24 + …
- Phylum Brachiopoda
- Class Inarticulata (Lingulata)
- Order Lingulida
- Class Articulata
- Order Terebratulida (image1 | image2 | figure) Devonian – Holocene
Biconvex shape and has large circular/semi-circular pedicle opening. Curved hingeline (look at the side view). The pedicle itself is often not preserved in the fossil record.
- Genus Oleneothyris (image)
Note the zig-zag commissure.
- Genus Oleneothyris (image)
- Order Spiriferida
- Genus Atrypa (image | figure) Silurian – Devonian
- Genus Cyrtina () Silurian – Permian
- Genus Mucrospirifer (figure) Mid Devonian
A distinct straight hinge line with a very large delthyrium (triangular shape in the middle). Biconvex shells with very well defined costae. Note this is used in labs as an example for Order Spiriferida.
- Genus Paraspirifer () Lower – Mid Devonian
- Order Orthida
- Order Pentamerida
- Order Rhynchonellida
- Order Strophomenida
- Sub Order Strophomenioina
- Phylum Bryozoa
- Order Cyclostomata
- Order Cheilostomata
- Order Fenestrata
- Genus Fenestella (image) Ordovician – Permian
- Genus Archimedes (image1 | image2) Mississippian – Permian
Screw like zooarium.
- Order Trepostomata
- Phylum Helmichordata
- Class Graptolithina
- Order Denoroidea
- Order Graptoloidea
- Genus Teragraptus (image) Lower Ordovician
Also can be found in horizontal type in which it the organism looks like a cross/crossing branches. Uniserial variety.
- Genus Phyllograptus () Lower Ordovician
- Genus Didymograptus (image) Lower – Upper Ordovician
- Genus Climacograptus (image | figure) Lower Ordovician
- Genus Orthograptus (figure) Upper Ordovician – Lower Silurian
- Genus Monograptus (image) Lower Silurian – Lower Devonian
Found in both straight and spiral formations.
- Genus Cyrtograptus (image1 | image2 | figure) Mid Silurian
- Phylum Chordata (Species Vertebrata (Cranrata))
- Phylum Arthropoda
- Class Crustacea
- Sub Class Ostracoda
- Class Trilobita
- Order Agnostida
- Order Phacopida
- Genus Calymene (figure) Lower Silurian – Mid Devonian
- Genus Phacops () Silurian – Devonian
- Order Redlichiida
- Genus Olenellus (figure) Lower Cambrian
- Order Ptychoparida
- Order Proetida (not on exams?)
- Order Corynexochida (not on exams?)
- Class Chelicerata
- Genus Eurypterus
- Phylum Mollusca
- Class Gastropoda
- Genus Bellerophon () Ordovician – Triassic
T = 0 with involute planispiral coiling. Often find with ribs but with no sutures.
- Genus Maclurites () Ordovician
Low T, but not zero. With exceptions to few, almost always found as an internal mold. No sutures and it is trochospiral.
- Genus Turritella () Oligocene – Holocene
Very very high T and therefore have an elongation along the trochospiral coiling. Dexutual coil.
- Class Polyplacophora
- Class Bivalvia
- Genus Trigonia (figure) Triassic – Cretaceous
Schizodont dentition. Curved hingeline. However, you may find fossils without the curved edges due to preservation conditions.
- Genus Inoceramus (figure) Jurassic – Cretaceous
Very strong rugae.
- Genus Mya (figure) Oligocene – Holocene
- Genus Mercenaria Oligocene – Holocene
Looks very similar to Genus Mya, but lacks the spoon-shaped chondrophore.
- Genus Exogyra (figure) Jurassic – Cretaceous
Trochospirak with high translation (coiling out).
- Genus Gryphaea (figure)
Similar to Genus Exogyra but it is planispiral hence it curves inwards (“devil’s finger”).
- Genus Pecten (figure) Eocene – Holocene
Very strong ribs. Auricles (wing-shaped) on both sides for swimming. The larger aurticle points to the anterior direction.
- Genus Rudistid () Cretaceous
Not to be confused with corals or bryozoans. Small lids which covers to tops are often missing from lab samples.
- Class Scaphopoda
- Class Cephalopoda
- Sub Class Nautiloidea
- Genus Euterphoceras
- Genus Nautilus (figure) Oligocene – Holocene
- Sub Class Actinoceratoidea
- Sub Class Endoceratoidea
- Sub Class Bactritoidea
- Genus Bactrites () Devonian – Permian
- Sub Class Ammonoidea
- Order Goniatitida
- Genus Tornoceras () Devonian
- Genus Goniatites () Mississippian
- Order Ceratitida
- Genus Ceratites () Mid Triassic
- Order Ammonitida
- Genus Dactylioceras () Lower Jurassic
- Genus Harpoceras () Lower Jurassic
- Genus Baculites () Upper Cretaceous
- Genus Scaphites () Upper Cretaceous
- Sub Class Coleoidea
- Genus Belemnites (figure) Jurassic – Cretaceous
- Phylum Echinodermata
- Class Asteroidea
- Genus “Starfish” (figure)
Five fold ( pentameral) symmetry. A good example of a living fossil. Well defined body wall and sometimes the central five side disc may be observed in the center.
- Class Blastoidea
- Genus Pentremites (figure) Mississippian – Pennsylvanian = Carboniferous
Small structures that looks like wrapping around a small ball. The five fold ( pentameral) body is often covered in a “cap” shaped external structure.
- Class Crinoidea
- Class Echinoidea
- Genus Micraster (figure) Upper Cretaceous
- Genus Dendraster (figure) Pliocene – Holocene
Dome (“circular”) shaped overall structure. Flower like appearance on the surface. Very good example of five-fold radial symmetry on the cross sectional body.
- Class Edrioasteroid
- Genus Isorophus () Mid – Upper Ordovician
- Class Erhombifera (“ctriuds”)
- Genus Strobilocystites () Mid – Upper Devonian
Looks like a pellet of poop. Not to be confused with Genus Pentremites. Small dotted “ball” like structures within the five fold star like physical frame.
- Phylum Chrysophyta
- Sub Class Rhizopoda
- Order Foraminiferida
- Genus Textularia () Pennsylvanian – Pliocene – Holocene
- Genus Globorotalia () Pliocene – Holocene
- Genus Globigerina () Pliocene – Holocene
- Sub Order Fusulinina
- Genus Schwagerinid wall () Upper Pennsylvanian – Mid Permian
Why won’t you publish digital photos of the lab samples? Unfortunately I am a member of the Faulty of Science since June 2013. As a result, I am not allow to publish images of lab samples on my site. However, if you would like to have images here, please email your images to me so I can post them on this site. Sorry for the inconvenience.
How does this colour scheme work? Oh well… like this
Holocene = Modern day
Felicia MacMurchy, Kathleen Nester, Pulkit Sabharwal and Laura A McCowan, University of Calgary (Undergraduate Students)