About the middle of the eighteenth century, the question whether the corals originally known only from collections of curiosities were animal, vegetable, or mineral was definitely decided in favour of the first of these categories (MARSILLI 1786). During the second half of the eighteenth and the entire following century, the former Lithophyta, as a subdivision of the Anthozoa, were an object of study for anatomists, taxonomists and, particularly in the nineteenth century, palaeontologists.