Crinoids are a class of marine animals belonging to the phylum Echinodermata, characterised as such by their pentaradiate symmetry and calcite endoskeleton. They have been present in the oceans for over 500 million years, but particularly flourished during the Palaeozoic, with peak diversity during the Early Carboniferous. Today, species of the same class are abundant across the world, ranging from warm tropical waters, to polar latitudes and they have adapted to survive in a variety of different niches.
This website seeks to provide an introduction to the nature and fossil record of these diverse creatures. It is designed to be an introduction into crinoid palaeontology and therefore may use some palaeontological terminology.
All figures and images reproduced with kind permission from either Charles Messing (Charles Messing's Comatulids Home Page) or (Charles Messing and William Ausich's Tree of life:Crinoidea website) and the Kentucky Geological Survey Home Page.
Author: Margaret Haden
Last updated: 30/10/03
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