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We present an updated look at Carboniferous brachiopod biozonation from most of the world framed into a revised Carboniferous palaeogeography, based on a selection of the literature published on Carboniferous brachiopods since the nineteenth century. The biostratigraphic significance of the most important brachiopod taxa is synthesized in seven geographical correlations.

The Mississippian is characterized by rich brachiopod faunas, with widespread taxa with a good potential for global correlation, such as Rugosochonetes, Delepinea, Buxtonia, Antiquatonia, Spinocarinifera, Marginatia, Fluctuaria, Ovatia, Rhipidomella, Lamellosathyris, Unispirifer, Tylothyris and Syringothyris.

From the mid-Visean to the late Serpukhovian, taxa of gigantoproductidines are biostratigraphically significant, and occur everywhere except South America and Australia, which remain as distinct faunal successions for most of the period. A major turnover occurs at the beginning of the Pennsylvanian, characterized by a higher degree of provincialism. Pennsylvanian brachiopod faunas are diverse in China, Russia and North America, but otherwise they are less developed and are characterized mostly by endemic taxa, hampering long-distance correlation. An exception is the rapid diversification of taxa of the Choristitinae, which were widespread from the Bashkirian to the Moscovian, allowing long-distance correlation.

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