A fossil brachiopod (Lingula) from Kelvinbridge.
Brachiopods have existed for almost 600 million years, since the Cambrian Period, although they were once more abundant and more species existed than today. Although most creatures with two opposed hinged shells (such as cockles and mussels) are known as bivalves, brachiopods are so different internally that they belong to a separate phylum (a grouping of species). They commonly live in shallow water near the seashore.
Some types of Lingula can still be found living today and for this reason are known as living fossils. The Lingula shown here lived in Scotland during the Carboniferous Period (360-290 million years ago).
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums
brachiopods, Cambrian Period, Carboniferous Period, fossils, geology, Lingula, living fossils