DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Crinoids belong to a group of marine organisms, the Echinodermata, that also include the starfish and sea urchins. Crinoids have lived in seas the world over since very ancient geologic times, with certainty from the Ordovician period, about 500 million years ago, and maybe even earlier. They still live today but in much less abundance. They grow on long and thin, segmented stems carrying a cluster of plume-like waving arms that are suggestive of flowers, inspiring their byname "Sea Lilies". But they are animals, not plants. The slab of sedimentary rock here displayed, measuring 60 x 75 cm, shows an accumulation of crinoid remains from Paleozoic deposits in southernmost Morocco.
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