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Crinoid/plankton consumer


Crinoïde amateur de plancton

Some layers of rocks found in Témiscamingue are 
made out of up to 90% of crinoid rings
Mann Island (Québec) - Collection Société d'histoire du Témiscamingue 

Crinoïde amateur de plancton






First Period of Appearance


The echinoderm phylum to which crinoids belong, first appeared during the Cambrian period 540 million years ago.




Even if its name means sea lilies and that it looks like a plant, the crinoid is an animal with many organs. It has a curious 5 sided symmetry such as its sea stars and sea urchin cousins. Moreover, it is close to the chordata phylum (spinal cords animals) making it our distant relative.

The crinoid has a unique system that maintains water pressure in its stalks and arms to keep itself straight. It uses its arms to breath and to feed itself with plankton and particles in suspension.

At the Ordivician and at the Silurian, crinoids make vast meadows in the shallow seas. Today, it usually live in tropical seas, although some species made their habitat in the North Atlantic ocean from Portugal to Norway.

Crinoid fossils can reach many meters in heights, but today's species never grow taller than 1 meter.


In Témiscamingue


Crinoids are very well represented in our fossil rocks,  especially during the Silurian period. There are many species present. Two specimens are currently being studied at the University of Cincinnati, they would be entirely new. The cliff of Dawson point would be mostly made of them.


Internet Resource


Crinoids are amongst the first animals that we find fossilized. If you'd like to know more on the explosion of the diversity of animal life at the Cambrian period, visit the Royal Museum of Ontario's website that will show you the different living beings at the Ediacaran (635 to 542 million years ago).

Enigmatic Ediacaran




See life in your fossils, the anatomy of a crinoid is described here


















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