Fossil Crinoids of the Catskill Mountains June 4, 2020

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Crinoids in the Catskills
From: The Catskills: a geologic Guide. 4th edition, Chap. 7
By Robert and Johanna Titus

Crinoids: Another living but largely unknown group of organisms found in the Catskills are the crinoids, also known by their common name, the sea lilies (figure 7-13; Drawing of a full crinoid, courtesy of the New York State Museum.- see below). Sea lilies are most remarkable animals. They commonly have five arms and that clearly indicates their relationship to the starfish. Although five arms may be an odd trait for an animal, what makes them truly unusual are their stems; they are stemmed animals! At the base of their stems are root-like structures called holdfasts, which tether them to the sea floor. Again, they are animals, but their plant-like morphology is what gives them their common name. Sea lilies grew in “meadows;” dense populations of them swayed in the currents much as meadow grass sways in the breeze. Today’s crinoids are brightly multicolored, and this adds to their plant-like image. They are especially common in the Coeymans and Becraft Limestones, although they are rarely well preserved. Look for abundant scattered stem remains.

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  7-13 – Typical crinoid, courtesy NY State Museum

  Living crinoid.


  7-14 – Limestone ledge, rich in crinoids

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