DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Graptolites (Graptolithina) are a class of extinct organisms that lived during the Paleozoic era. Their name is based on the Greek words "graptos" (written) and "lithos" (stone). They were primitive animals that lived in colonial assemblies in marine environments, most often attached to the seafloor (sessile), but free floating (pelagic) varieties also occurred. Their fossils evoke the suggestion of hieroglyphs, the elongate variety in this sample with the saw-teeth being the most common. The sample here displayed comes from Pleistocene moraine deposits in the north Netherlands and is derived from Paleozoic sediments in Scandinavia. Actual width of sample is 210 mm.
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