This week on Fossil Friday, I gave you what looked like a plate full of ramen noodles—or maybe it was plain old spaghetti. Nope. Raymond King knew it almost right away: it was a slew (a herd? a flock? a murder?) of brittle stars. Meanwhile Dan Coleman guessed that it came from the Miocene—good call!
From the UC Museum of Paleontology:
“The more familiar Ophiurida, or brittle stars, usually have five arms and superficially resemble true starfish (Asteroidea). However, brittle stars have long, flexible arms (hence the other common name for ophiuroids, ‘snake stars’) and a central, armored, disk-shaped body that is clearly demarcated from the arms. Instead of crawling on hundreds of tube feet like starfish, brittle stars move fairly rapidly by wriggling their arms...The body and arms are also protected by calcium carbonate plates, and the arms generally bear delicate spines.”
Thanks for playing this week! Stay tuned for more fossil fun this Friday!