Bollinger County Museum of Natural History

Official Missouri State Fossil - Delocrinus missouriensis

Crinoids - Lilies of the Sea

by Guy Darrough

Crinoids are echinoderms, marine animals that are sometimes referred to as "sea lilies" because of their beautiful, flower-like appearance. They are related to starfish, sea urchins, and sand dollars and still exist today. Crinoids are attached to the sea bed by a root system and a flexible stalk. Attached to the top of the stalk was the head or calyx, a structure sporting an array of filter feeding arms that strained small particles from the seawater. Crinoids were so abundant in the past that certain Missouri rock formations are composed almost entirely of crinoid debris.

The following are examples of the types of crinoids that can be found in Missouri. To see more crinoids, visit our extraordinary collection on display now!

Specimens from the Guy Darrough Collection.





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