Fossil Record Life & Ecology Systematics More on Morphology

Scyphozoa: Fossil Record

Rhizostomites fossil
Scyphozoans are extremely rare as fossils; their soft bodies, which are composed mostly of water, can only be preserved under very unusual conditions. A few possible but poorly known scyphozoans have been described from the Vendian (Late Precambrian), and scattered scyphozoan fossils are known throughout the Phanerozoic. Shown here, from the collections of the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, is a specimen of Rhizostomites from the Late Jurassic Solnhofen Limestone of Bavaria, Germany, a body of rock which has yielded many fossils of exceptional preservation.

It is possible, however, that the problematic, pyramid-shaped conulariids, which are fossils ranging from the middle Ordovician to the Triassic, are scyphozoan polyps, or else related to the scyphozoans in some way. This point is still debated — what do you think?

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