Craniata (brachiopod)

Craniata is a class of brachiopods originating in the Cambrian period and still extant today.[1] They have calcitic inarticulated shells that are subcircular in outline. This class of brachiopods has an unsupported lophophore and is always attached to a hard substrate in the fossil record. This hard substrate is usually another brachiopod. The plicae from the host brachiopod will then appear within the shell of the craniata.[2]

Temporal range: Ordovician– Recent
Ordovician strophomenid brachiopod with encrusting craniid brachiopods (Philhedra, the round attached shells).
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Clade: Lophophorata
Phylum: Brachiopoda
Subphylum: Craniiformea
Popov, Basset, Holmer & Laurie, 1993
Class: Craniata
Williams, Carlson, Brunton, Holmer & Popov, 1996 (non Linnaeus 1758: preoccupied)
Orders and Families


  • Craniforma

Craniata is the only class within the subphylum Craniiformea. The class Craniata is divided into three orders, one of which is still extant (Craniida).


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