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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Upper Devonian corals of the Canadian Cordilleran region Thomlinson, Arnold Gordon

Abstract

Preliminary to the descriptions of genera and species is a very brief discussion of coral terminology and classification. The thesis embodies descriptions and illustrations of 29 genera and 42 species of fossil corals, reported in the literature to occur in Upper Devonian rocks of western Canada. Although most of these are reported from the Rocky Mountain area, several species from the Mackenzie River-Mackenzie Mountains area are also included. In addition, species reported from the Upper Devonian Outcrops east of the Rocky Mountains have been dealt with. Numerous taxonomic problems encountered in the study are discussed in remarks on the genera and species involved. Fossil corals collected from the region drained by the headwaters of the North Saskatchewan River are described, identified and illustrated. Nine genera and 14 species are recognized in the collection. Of these, 1 genus and 4 species do not appear to have been previously reported to occur in the Upper Devonian beds of the Rocky Mountains in Canada. The species of Coenites described is possibly a new one but it cannot be regarded as such until a study is made of literature which, at present, is not available. From this study of Upper Devonian corals, the writer concludes that the DISPHYLLIDAE are in need of division into new subfamilies, and he suggests two characteristics whose phylogenetic significance requires investigation. However, it is considered that existing paleontologlc data Is neither comprehensive enough nor precise enough to permit such an undertaking. Reasons are given for the present inadequacies of knowledge of Upper Devonian corals and recommendations are made for improvement of the situation.

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