Conodonts are extinct, eel-like vertebrates, mainly known from fossils of their phosphatic feeding apparatus. Whole animal fossils are extremely rare, making conodont morphology difficult to understand.

Teeth-like conodont microfossils are found in marine rocks such as limestones and shale. Extremely rare occurrences of the soft body indicate that conodonts had:

  • eyes
  • a notochord
  • muscle blocks on an eel-like body

Rare assemblages on shale surfaces suggest that conodonts were bilaterally symmetrical and had an array of teeth that were probably used for grasping and processing food.


Precambrian to late Triassic

Why study conodonts?

The abundance and diversity of phosphatic conodont fossils in Palaeozoic rocks makes them a useful dating tool.