AbstractCurrently there is no unified view on the evolution of the brachiopod lophophore. In order to combine views of paleontologists and zoologists, the evolution of the brachiopod lophophore is analyzed here based on published data from fossil and recent species. A simple spirolophe is supposed to be plesiomorphic in brachiopods and gave rise to a large variety of tentacle apparatus in three brachiopod subphyla. The spirolophe is preserved in Craniiformea and the linguliform superfamily Linguloidea; it is better developed in rhynchonelliform brachiopods, in which its brachial axis obtained a skeletal support that preserves well in the fossil state. The ptycholophe and plectolophe are derivative of the schizolophous developmental stage in brachiopods. They probably developed independently by paedomorphosis in the subphylum Rhynchonelliformea.