BRACHIOPODS or "Lamp Shells" are marine animals which have two valves that are not quite alike. Each valve is equilateral, however, and fits its mate perfectly. Brachiopods are symmetrical about a line drawn down the centre of either valve. A fleshy anchoring stem or pedicle is most often present at the beak-like structure on the pedicle valve. Common in Paleozoic rocks and important as fossils, Brachiopods have brachial valves and pedicle valves which may be either held together by muscles or held together by muscles and teeth. Evolution has favoured the articulated species insofar as numbers are concerned.

Although adults live mainly attached to the sea bed, they begin life as free-swimming larvae. This explains their wide distribution in the world.

The rock, pictured on the opposite page, was split into two pieces to reveal examples of a small species (8 to 10 mm across). Outlines were omitted around some very good fossil Brachiopods in this rock. Can you spot them? Note also the partial Pelecypod mould to the left side of the rock.

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