Furongian? / Early Ordovician to Late Permian
Tabulates are a Paleozoic group of corals that produce calcite skeletons of varying shapes. Unlike the contemporary Rugose corals, they are always colonial, and never found as solitary forms, and the individual corallites are small.
The group takes its name from the organization of the colony. It is built around prominent horizontal "floors" or tabulae. Other skeletal elements, such as septa, are reduced or absent. Because of this it has even been suggested that these are not corals at all, but a type of extinct algae.
The larger tabulates were important reef-builders, being found in association with Stromatoporoids. Some species, like the well known Favosites, form mound-like colonies, but there are also sheet-like, branching, and chain-like forms.
The usual classification is as follows:
Introduction to the Tabulata
Corals - Kansas Fossils
E.N.K. Clarkson, Invertebrate Paleontology and Evolution
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