A rare discovery at Penn Dixie

fossil picture
A crinoid holdfast discovered by Colleen McCarthy at Penn Dixie.

Penn Dixie visitors have dug up a lot of cool — and sometimes unexpected — things over the years, but Earth Day (April 23) kicked off our 2016 dig season in dramatic fashion.

Colleen McCarthy found this rare specimen — a crinoid holdfast — in the Windom Shale. Crinoids (i.e., sea lilies) were widespread in Devonian oceans. Crinoid columnals — which comprised the organisms’ stalks — are very common at Penn Dixie. Crinoid holdfasts, which allowed crinoids to attach to the substrate, are exceedingly uncommon — both at the site and in the fossil record. We thank Colleen for her wonderful addition to our fossil photo collection!

Crinoid body parts.

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