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Friday, August 19, 2011

Rare find at Roaring Brook

Hello again All,

Last Friday Diana and I went out to look at several localities that CJ and I had previously visited.  At our first stop, a section of the Roaring Brook river about a half mile downstream from Whittaker Falls, while looking at one of the rock shelves I noticed an exceptionally long piece of Crinoid stem. Now Crinoid stems are usually no more then a few segment pieces long because of how fragile they are, so I decided to take a closer look.  As I moved in closer I realized that at one end of this six inch long section of Crinoid stem was in fact its actual head.  I was ecstatic, and after calling over Diana to show her we quickly worked it free from the shelf and stored it safely in the trunk of Diana's car.

For those who don't know the Crinoid is a member of the Echinodermata phylum, the same phylum as starfish and sea urchins, and look a lot more like flowering plants then an animal.  Crinoids are still alive today and date back all the way to the Ordovician, making them a living fossil along side Coelacanths and several varieties of sharks, among others.  To find a Crinoid this well articulated is rare because, as I said before, they are very fragile creatures, modern Crinoids have been known to complete break apart within 24 hours of dying, so in my opinion this poor fellow was most likely rapidly buried in some kind of storm event that, luckily for us, allowed it to be so beautifully well preserved.

Below are two photos the lovely Crinoid, the first has a penny for scale and shows the entire length of the fossil from head to the end of the stalk. The second gives an overhead view of the fossil.  You may note that the section with the Crinoid has a slightly green tint to it, that is from some biological material that I have yet to remove for fear of damaging the specimen.





For more information on Crinoids the page on the Kansas Geological Survey web site @ http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Extension/fossils/crinoid.html

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