Carlson, Sandra J. Department of Geology, University of California, Davis, California.
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One of three subphyla currently recognized in the phylum Brachiopoda, a clade of lophophore-bearing protostome metazoan animals. The name Rhynchonelliformea is derived from the stratigraphically oldest subclade with extant representatives, the order Rhynchonellida (Fig. 1). Rhynchonelliforms constitute over 90% of the more than 4500 named brachiopod genera, most of which (over 95%) are extinct. Rhynchonelliformea includes all taxa formerly referred to the class Articulata, in addition to several groups newly discovered as fossils, formerly placed in class Inarticulata, or of uncertain taxonomic affiliation. Living members of the Rhynchonelliformea are monophyletic, as confirmed by molecular and morphological data. Phylogenetic relationships among the basal, extinct rhynchonelliforms (Fig. 1) are currently being evaluated. See also: Brachiopoda; Rhynchonellida
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