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Rugose corals are one of the major fossil groups in shallow-water environments. They played an important role in dividing and correlating Carboniferous strata during the last century, when regional biostratigraphic schemes were established, and may be useful for long-distance correlation. Carboniferous rugose corals document two evolutionary events. One is the Tournaisian recovery event, with abundant occurrences of typical Carboniferous rugose corals such as columellate taxa and a significant diversification of large, dissepimented corals. The other is the changeover of rugose coral composition at the mid-Carboniferous boundary, which is represented by the disappearance of many large dissepimented taxa with complex axial structures and the appearance of typical Pennsylvanian taxa characterized by compound rugose taxa. The biostratigraphic scales for rugose corals show a finer temporal resolution in the Mississippian than in the Pennsylvanian, which was probably caused by the Late Paleozoic Ice Age that resulted in glacial–eustatic changes and a lack of continuous Pennsylvanian carbonate strata. The Pennsylvanian rugose corals are totally missing in the Cimmerian Continent. High-resolution biostratigraphy of rugose corals has so far only been achieved in few regions for the Mississippian timescale. In most regions, more detailed taxonomic work and precise correlations between different fossil groups are needed.

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