Paleobiological Hierarchy

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Kingdoms (largest divisions)

  • Bacteria
  • Protista
  • Animalia
  • Plantae
  • Fungi


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.

You may find this chart of fossils based on their age useful. You may download them in image format and PDF format. Go save as for download.

Kingdom Animalia

  • Phylum Porifera
    • Class Stromatoporata
      • Genus Stromatoporoids (figure)
    • Phylum Archaeocyatha
    • Phylum Cnidaria
      • Class Anthozoa
        • Sub Class Zoantharia
          • Order Tabulata OrdovicianPermian
            • Genus Catenipora (image1 | image2 | image3 | figure) OrdovicianSilurian
              Chain coral; looks like links on a chain. The cross sectional view is usually have flat lines.
            • Genus Favosites (image1 | image2 | figure) OrdovicianDevonian
              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) SilurianDevonian
              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) SilurianPennsylvanian
              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 OrdovicianPermian
            • 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) MississippianPennsylvanian = 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) TriassicHolocene = 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
            • Genus Lingula (image1 | image2 | image3 | figure) OrdovicianHolocene
              Spatulate Valves with pedicle are placed between the two shells. Should be able to observe elliptical growth lines extending longitudinally on the surface of the shell.
      • Class Articulata
        • Order Terebratulida (image1 | image2 | figure) DevonianHolocene
          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.
        • Order Spiriferida
            • Genus Atrypa (image | figure) SilurianDevonian
            • Genus Cyrtina () SilurianPermian
            • 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
          • Sub Order Productina
            • Genus Dictyoclostus (image | figure) Mississippian
              Spines (spike like). Chubby fat guy.
    • Phylum Bryozoa
      • Order Cyclostomata
      • Order Cheilostomata
      • Order Fenestrata
        • Genus Fenestella (image) OrdovicianPermian
        • Genus Archimedes (image1 | image2) MississippianPermian
          Screw like zooarium.
      • Order Trepostomata
        • Genus Hallopora (image1 | image2) OrdovicianDevonian
        • Genus Prasopora () Ordovician
    • Phylum Helmichordata
      • Class Graptolithina
        • Order Denoroidea
          • Genus Rhabdinopora (image | figure) Upper Cambrian – Lower Carboniferous
        • 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 OrdovicianLower Silurian
          • Genus Monograptus (image) Lower SilurianLower Devonian
            Found in both straight and spiral formations.
          • Genus Cyrtograptus (image1 | image2 | figure) Mid Silurian
    • Phylum Chordata (Species Vertebrata (Cranrata))
      • Class Conodonta
        • Genus Streptognathodus (image) Lower PennsylvanianLower Permian
        • Genus Neogondolella () PermianTriassic
        • Genus Polygnathus (image) Lower DevonianLower Mississippian
        • Genus Palmatolepis (image) Upper Devonian
    • Phylum Arthropoda
      • Class Crustacea
        • Sub Class Ostracoda
      • Class Trilobita
        • Order Agnostida
        • Order Phacopida
          • Genus Calymene (figure) Lower SilurianMid Devonian
          • Genus Phacops () SilurianDevonian
        • Order Redlichiida
          • Genus Olenellus (figure) Lower Cambrian
        • Order Ptychoparida
          • Genus Trinucleus (figure) Ordovician
          • Genus Isotelus (figure) Mid – Upper Ordovician
        • Order Proetida (not on exams?)
        • Order Corynexochida (not on exams?)
      • Class Chelicerata
          • Genus Eurypterus
    • Phylum Mollusca
      • Class Gastropoda
        • Genus Bellerophon () OrdovicianTriassic
          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 () OligoceneHolocene
          Very very high T and therefore have an elongation along the trochospiral coiling. Dexutual coil.
      • Class Polyplacophora
      • Class Bivalvia
        • Genus Trigonia (figure) TriassicCretaceous
          Schizodont dentition. Curved hingeline. However, you may find fossils without the curved edges due to preservation conditions.
        • Genus Inoceramus (figure) JurassicCretaceous
          Very strong rugae.
        • Genus Mya (figure) OligoceneHolocene
          Spoon-shaped chondrophore.
        • Genus Mercenaria OligoceneHolocene
          Looks very similar to Genus Mya, but lacks the spoon-shaped chondrophore.
        • Genus Exogyra (figure) JurassicCretaceous
          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) EoceneHolocene
          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) OligoceneHolocene
        • Sub Class Actinoceratoidea
        • Sub Class Endoceratoidea
        • Sub Class Bactritoidea
          • Genus Bactrites () DevonianPermian
        • 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) JurassicCretaceous
    • 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) MississippianPennsylvanian = 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) PlioceneHolocene
          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.

    Kingdom Protista

    • Phylum Chrysophyta
      • Sub Class Rhizopoda
        • Order Foraminiferida
            • Genus Textularia () PennsylvanianPlioceneHolocene
            • Genus Globorotalia () PlioceneHolocene
            • Genus Globigerina () PlioceneHolocene
          • Sub Order Fusulinina
            • Genus Schwagerinid wall () Upper PennsylvanianMid 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

    Thank You

    Felicia MacMurchy, Kathleen Nester, Pulkit Sabharwal and Laura A McCowan, University of Calgary (Undergraduate Students)

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