Paleonet: Question on skeleton formation

Stergios Zarkogiannis sterjios at
Thu Oct 7 23:54:16 GMT 2010

Thank you very much!

Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2010 08:46:35 -0500
From: davidkm at
To: paleonet at
Subject: Re: Paleonet: Question on skeleton formation

If I recall correctly, inarticulate
brachiopods have phosphatic skeletons, and articulate brachiopods have calcium
carbonate skeletons. The inarticulates developed shells first.


Because chitin is less durable than silica
and calcium carbonate it may be somewhat difficult to figure out how abundant
chitinous exoskeletons were in the distant past. I feel certain research on
this question has been published, but I'm not familiar with it.


My two cents about this interesting




David C Kopaska-Merkel

Geological Survey of Alabama

Box 869999

Tuscaloosa AL 35486-6999


fax 205-349-2861

Got questions? sednet might have answers:

paleonet-bounces at [mailto:paleonet-bounces at] On Behalf Of Stergios Zarkogiannis

Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2010
6:46 AM

To: paleonet at

Subject: Paleonet: Question on
skeleton formation


Dear all,


I would like to raise a question on
the way skeletons are produced. Have you ever come across, from any personal
research or from any reference, the percentages of organisms that calcify,
silicify or produce chitinous skeletons? Intuitively I believe that
calcification is the dominant process, then comes silicification and the rest
is chitin but I do not have any reference or exact numbers. Was this always
true or is it different from the past? I am interested in finding out about the
preferred skeletization technique of today and if possible of the past, as

I am looking forward to your reply.


Kindest regards,



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