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    Description

    PRESERVED CRINOID - A "LIVING FOSSIL"
    Metacrinus asteria
    Western Pacific Ocean

    This remarkable specimen is a modern Crinoid, harvested from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Although distinctly plant-like in appearance, they are a form of Echinoderm, related to the Starfish and Sea Urchin. The "flowering" head is a mass of articulated arms that capture passing food and transfer it to the central oral cavity. Crinoids have been found in the fossil record dating as far back as the Paleozoic, 480 million years ago, making them one of the most successful and long-lived species on Earth - sometimes whole rock strata will be composed of their stems. They were believed at one time to have become extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period along with the dinosaurs, as they became considerably more rare; even today very few Natural History Museums have decent specimens of the modern Crinoids for they tend to disintegrate swiftly after death, and most modern species inhabit deep ocean waters, over 6000 feet down. For those familiar with their fossils, the modern Crinoid is immediately recognizable - their successful design has remained unchanged across millions of years. The present specimen is distinguished by an attractive, pentagonal-section stem, curling with cirri. The mass of arms that make up the crown are bristling with the tiny pinnules that it used to capture passing food. One can just picture fields of these strange creatures floating gently in the ocean current. They are usually presumed to be sessile, or at least to require some sort of anchor point, even a piece of oceanic flotsam; underwater footage shot in 2005, however, revealed for the first time that they are actually able to "uproot" themselves and scurry along the sea bed at surprising speed in order to escape danger. This finely preserved specimen is attractively presented in a glazed and ebonized display case ready for hanging, 16½ x 12¾ inches.


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    20th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,897

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