Lingulata: Fossil Record

Lingulate brachiopods are classic examples of "living fossils," or members of lineages that have undergone very little morphological change with time. The picture above shows, at the top, a preserved specimen of extant Lingula, contrasted with a fossil lingulid shell from the Ordovician of Iowa.

Lingulate brachiopods radiated modestly in the Cambrian, but lost diversity in the Ordovician, and have never been particularly diverse.