3.6" Fossil Crinoid and Blastoid Plate - Missouri
This is a 3.6" plate of echinoderm fossils from The Burlington Formation, Ralls County, Missouri. There is a crinoid calyx (Uperocrinus) and a blastoid (Globoblastus). Other crinoid and shell fragments are also visible.
Crinoids, sometimes commonly referred to as sea lilies, are animals, not plants. They are echinoderms related to starfish, sea urchins, and brittle stars. Many crinoid traits are like other members of their phylum; such traits include tube feet, radial symmetry, a water vascular system, and appendages in multiples of five (pentameral). They first appeared in the Ordovician (488 million years ago) and some species are still alive today.
Blastoids are an extinct type of filter feeding, stemmed echinoderm that resembles a small hickory nut. They thrived during the Mississippian period before going extinct during the great Permian extinction. While not as diverse as their relative the crinoid, they were equally as common in rocks around the world. Blastoids were protected by a set of interlocking plates, which formed the main body, or theca. In life, the theca of a typical blastoid was attached to a stalk or column made up of stacked disc-shaped plates.