Here are some of the crinoids that we found this week. Crinoids are pretty cool and we find them everywhere. I want to make a necklace out of the small segments.
Crinoid on the left
Horn coral center
Crinoids are unusually beautiful and graceful members of the phylum Echinodermata. They are also some of the oldest fossils on the planet.
This is the phylum that brings you starfish, sea urchins, and sand dollars. The crinoids are a breed apart however, they resemble an underwater flower. Some even have parts that look and act like roots anchoring them to the ocean floor. They are commonly called sea lilies. Their graceful stalks can be meters long.
These echinoderms were at their height during the Paleozoic era. They could be found all over the world, creating forests on the floor of the shallow seas of this time period. There were so many in places, that thick limestone beds were formed almost entirely from their body parts piled on top of each other.
Crinoids of today tend toward deeper waters. You won’t see them on your next snorkeling adventure. The stalked varieties are usually found in water over 200 meters deep, though some can be found 100 meters deep. Crinoids fossilize readily and so there is an abundance of them to be found, mostly stalk fragments. There are 2 reasons for this. The ocean floor is a good environment for fossilization to occur. Their skeletons are made of calcareous plates. This is a hard rock like material.