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On the history of the names Lingula, anatina, and on the confusion of the forms assigned them among the Brachiopoda

Keywords: Lingula , brachiopod , anatina , Darwin , living fossil.

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The first descriptions of Lingula were made from then extant specimens by three famous French scientists: Bruguière, Cuvier, and Lamarck. The genus Lingula was created in 1791 (not 1797) by Bruguière and in 1801 Lamarck named the first species L. anatina, which was then studied by Cuvier (1802). In 1812 the first fossil lingulids were discovered in the Mesozoic and Palaeozoic strata of the U.K. and were referred to Lingula on the basis of similarity in the form of the shell. In the 1840's other linguliform brachiopods from the Palaeozoic were described. The similarity of the shell form of the extant Lingula and these fossils led Darwin in 1859 to create the description "living fossil" in his book "On the Origin of Species". Thereafter, this Darwinian concept became traditional in that Lingula was considered to lack morphological evolutionary changes. Although denounced as scientifically incorrect for more than two decades, the concept still remains in many books, publications and Web sites, perhaps a witness to palaeontological conservatism.


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