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3485 Views 2 Replies Last post: Jun 18, 2011 2:23 PM by Fireopal RSS
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Jun 18, 2011 12:36 AM

Answered - Tiny starfish fossil - any information will be a bonus!!

  I found this tiny starfish fossil last summer in a bag of flint gravel chips.  I thought it was a bead at first as it is perfect in every way. When I washed away the dust i could not believe I had found a tiny, fully formed starfish.  It is no more than 7-8mm from the tip of one arm to the otherside - so hence I have had a hard job taking a photo.  I cant get the photo to show all the detail, which is a shame as you can clearly see the mouth parts and the detailing on each arm.  The shape is a real surprise to me - I have only ever seen flint fossils emmbedded in the stone - not as this is, a stone in its own right.  I'd love any information or similar pictures if anyone has any - many thanks for your time

warm wishes  Fireopal

  • Hey there,

    This is actually a fossil stem section, known as an ossicle, of an animal known as sea lily or crinoid. They are in the same phylum as starfish as it happens - they are both echinoderms. Sea lilies look a bit like flowers, with stems and waving arms, but they are actually animals and live by filtering food out of the seawater. This belongs to the family Isocrinidae, which all have star shaped stem sections. Search for Isocrinid on Nature Plus and you will see a lot more of these on the forum.

    Cinoid ossicles are often found loose in flint gravel as you have. I think this is flint, although I can't be quite certain from the photo. If it is flint, then it is from the Upper Cretaceous period, from towards the end of the time of the dinosaur, between 85-65 million years ago.

    I hope this helps!


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