graptolite

[grap-tuh-lahyt]
noun
any colonial animal of the extinct class Graptolithina, most common in the Ordovician and Silurian Periods, thought to be related to the pterobranchs.

Origin:
1830–40; < Greek graptó(s) painted, marked with letters (verbal adjective from gráphein to write) + -lite

graptolitic [grap-tuh-lit-ik] , adjective
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World English Dictionary
graptolite (ˈɡræptəˌlaɪt)
 
n
any extinct Palaeozoic colonial animal of the class Graptolithina, usually regarded as related to either the hemichordates or the coelenterates: a common fossil, used to determine the age of sedimentary rocks
 
[C19: from Greek graptos written, from graphein to write + -lite]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

graptolite
1838, from Mod.L. graptolithus, lit. "written-stone," from Gk. graptos "engraved, written" (verbal adj. of graphein) + lithos "stone." So called because the fossils resemble writing.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
graptolite   (grāp'tə-līt')  Pronunciation Key 
Any of numerous hemichordates of the class Graptolithina. Graptolites form colonies consisting of interlocked cuplike chambers arranged in one or more branches and covered by an exoskeleton. They flourished from the late Cambrian to the early Mississippian Period, and were thought to be extinct until 1992 when scientists discovered what is believed to be a living species. Graptolites are important index fossils used to date the rocks of the Silurian and Ordovician Periods.
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Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Graptolite and trace fossils may be found, but are rare.
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