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Creek Running North

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March 11, 2005

Friday echinoderm blogging!

This is part of a crinoid mass mortality layer found on Buffalo Creek in 1996. Becky and Zeke and I dragged the big slab of hardened shale all the way back to California by way of Chicago, Duluth, Rapid City, Moab, Sedona and LA. This rock has gotten around!

Crinoids still survive in some parts of the world - at least those parts that are under seawater. The little cylinders you see here are sections of crinoid stalks, which elevated the feeding structures above the ocean floor, presumably helping to access minor currents more effectively and increasing the edible plankton to inedible silt ratio a bit by getting the feathery feeding arms away from the mud. Not all crinoids were (or are) stalked: "feather stars" are examples of non-stalked living crinoids.

During the middle Devonian, which is when this rock came from, crinoids were important reef-building organisms. This rock may be a section of one of said reeves. I'm not expert enough to tell.

Posted by Chris Clarke at March 11, 2005 06:51 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:
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Tracked: March 11, 2005 12:40 PM
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decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

Comments

Fun fact! The crinoid is also the Missouri State Fossil.

Posted by: yami at March 11, 2005 08:57 AM
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Very cool! I'm all in favor of Fossil Fridays! And didn't know ANY states had "state fossils"...what about our home state, Chris?

Posted by: beth at March 11, 2005 10:45 AM
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Always good to read about fossils. Maybe next week it'll be gastropods?

Posted by: WolverineTom at March 11, 2005 11:12 AM
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Eurypterus remipes, a 420 million year-old eurypterid, was adopted as the New York State fossil in 1984. Eurypterids are extinct, distant relatives of the horseshoe crab.

This is lifted almost verbatim from http://www.dos.state.ny.us/kidsroom/nysfacts/stfacts.html .

Posted by: Vicki at March 11, 2005 11:32 AM
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You know, I thought for sure Craig was gonna be quickest on the draw with the eurypterid. Good work, Robinson.

California's state fossil is the Smilodon, but I'm going to have to ask Carl's help for a picture of one of those.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at March 11, 2005 11:56 AM
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Illinois's state fossil is a particularly good choice -- the Tully monster, Tullimonstrum gregarium.

Posted by: vasha at March 11, 2005 12:14 PM
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Here we go: statefossils.com.

Posted by: yami at March 11, 2005 01:51 PM
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I thought about it.

Posted by: Craig at March 11, 2005 07:41 PM
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