any colonial animal of the extinct class Graptolithina, most common in the Ordovician and Silurian Periods, thought to be related to the pterobranchs.

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

graptolitic [grap-tuh-lit-ik] , adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To graptolite
World English Dictionary
graptolite (ˈɡræptəˌlaɪt)
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]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

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
Cite This Source
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Graptolite and trace fossils may be found, but are rare.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature