GRAPTOLITES, an assemblage of extinct zoophytes whose skeletal remains are found in the Palaeozoic rocks, occasionally in great abundance.
There are two main groups, or sub-phyla: the Graptoloidea or Graptolites proper, and the Dendroidea or tree-like Graptolites; the former is typified by the unbranched genus Monograptus and the latter by the many-branched genus Dendrograptus.
As regards the modes of reproduction among the Graptolites little is known.
As respects the mode of life of the Graptolites there can be little doubt that the Dendroidea were, with some exceptions, sessile or benthonic animals, their polyparies, like those of the recent Calyptoblastea, growing upwards, their bases remaining attached to the sea floor or to foreign bodies, usually fixed.
Some of these ancient seaweeds may have remained permanently rooted in the littoral regions, while others may have become broken off and drifted, like the recent Sargassum, at the mercy of the winds and currents, carrying the attached Graptolites into all latitudes.