A marine invertebrate which superficially resembles a bivalve mollusc but has two or more arms of ciliated tentacles (lophophores) that are extended for filter-feeding. Lamp shells are common as fossils. Also called brachiopod.
- Phylum Brachiopoda: numerous groups in the Palaeozoic era but few surviving to the present day.
- Brachiopods - lampshells - for instance, have remained virtually unchanged since they first appeared in the Cambrian Period, more than 500 million years ago.
- For example, horseshoe crabs (Limulus) and lampshells (Lingula) both occur in shallow marine environments, where many predators and competitors exist, particularly since the Cretaceous Period.
- Until now, the earliest animals known to be coloured were lamp shells that lived about 350 million years ago.
Mid 19th century: from its resemblance to an ancient oil lamp.
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