Answer Monday

A fossil!

It’s Gogia spiralis! Shaped like a vase, or a bowling pin, or a pineapple, with five curly arms on top, G. spiralis fossils hail from North American strata dating to the early to middle Cambrian. They’re distant and of course ancient cousins to today’s echinoderms—sea cucumbers, starfish, sea urchins, and the like. Like their modern cousins, they didn’t have brains or pinkies, so the references to the animated series Pinky and the Brain were wholly gratuitous, I’m afraid. In any case, congratulations to the mighty Dan Coleman for identifying the genus and species, and even the provenance, and a tip of the pentaradially symmetric hat to Dan Phelps for the photograph.