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During the Carboniferous, crinoids were commonly so abundant that their skeletal ossicles formed limestones termed encrinites. Major evolutionary changes occurred within the Camerata and Articuliformes, as the former were displaced by the latter as the dominant clade. Both the Mississippian and the Pennsylvanian subperiods started with high evolutionary rates and ended with low evolutionary rates associated with glaciation. Although not typically used for biostratigraphy, crown-based crinoid genera can be used as biostratigraphic indicators for Carboniferous stages. Paleozoic crinoid biodiversity reached its maximum during the Carboniferous, from which there are numerous well-documented localities with high biodiversity. Faunas from the palaeobiogeographical regions of Laurussia, Palaeo-Tethys and Gondwana are reviewed. For Mississippian crinoids, 37 genera are designated as biostratigraphically useful; and, for the Pennsylvanian, 44 genera are identified. Recognition of the utility of these genera for biostratigraphy is important for dating crinoid deposits, which may be devoid of other biostratigraphically useful fossils, and add to our overall ability to delineate the temporal resolution of life on Earth.

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