Crinoid Fossil

300 million years ago

Collected from downtown Kansas City, this 300 million-year-old crinoid fossil is a reminder of Missouri’s prehistoric past. Crinoids (Delocrinus missouriensis) were marine animals native to Missouri during the Pennsylvanian Period when the state was submerged below a warm shallow sea. The fossil’s plant-like appearance earned them the nickname “sea lily,” as they had a stem for anchoring, a calyx where they digested plankton, and feathery arms that would filter food. There are about 600 different crinoid species found in oceans today, as well as other more familiar relatives like the sand dollar, starfish, and sea urchin.

It is rare to find crinoid fossils fully intact. Ossicles, or small fragments of their skeletons, are often found in limestone deposits in the Burlington and Callaway Formations throughout the state. Due to their prevalence, students at Pleasant Lea Jr. High School in Lee’s Summit proposed the crinoid to represent Missouri. The group of students promoted and worked through the legislative process. Their efforts paid off on June 16, 1989, when the crinoid officially became the Missouri state fossil.

Object Details

Categories: Natural Enviroment

Date: 300 million years ago

Subject: Fossils; Crinoidea

Collection Name: UMKC Richard Sutton Geosciences Museum

Contributing Institution: University of Missouri - Kansas City

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Type: Fossil

Latitude: 39.035340

Longitude: -94.576537