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Rugose corals are an extinct group of Paleozoic fossils, which show great diversity in their period of evolution from the Middle Ordovician to the end of the Permian. They are developed worldwide, primarily in carbonate facies, and in paleoenvironments ranging from relatively deep water, basinal strata, to, more commonly, shallow carbonate shelves and ramps. Like most fossil groups, their morphology, diversity and abundance are strongly controlled by their paleoenvironmental setting. However, in strata reflecting comparable paleoenvironments they can have considerable biostratigraphic utility.
This book deals with an important group of Frasnian (Upper Devonian) rugose corals from western Canada, the colonial disphyllids. The genera Disphyllum, Pantophyllum, Argutastraea, Hexagonaria, Whittakeria (new genus), and Kuangxiastraea are considered, with 16 species (4 of which are new) studied in detail. The biostratigraphy of the western Canadian colonial disphyllids is reviewed, and placed in context of a zonal scheme of both rugose corals and conodonts. Regional correlations of Frasnian strata in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, which are important reservoirs for hydrocarbons, are also depicted.