Happy National Fossil Day!
These fascinating fossils are a far crinoid from being extinct. Crinoids, also known as feather stars and sea lilies, are basically upside-down sea stars with stems. They were once so prolific that they covered the bottom of the sea like a field of wheat, the discs from their stalks preserved as fossils for future foragers to find. Now, their modern relatives are some of the most abundant animals seen by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s (@mbari-blog) ROVs in the Monterey Canyon!
📹 of a feather star swimming by MBARI
1️⃣📷: 300 million-year-old jasperized crinoid stem fossils at an Aquarium staffer’s desk (penny for scale)
2️⃣📷: A sea lily seen about 2,400 meters (a mile and a half) below the surface of Monterey Bay clinging to the wall of Monterey Canyon
3️⃣📷: A feather star, Florometra serratissima, perched on a sponge in the Monterey Canyon