This fossilized mortality plate of a LARGE starfish is really an attention grabber! It is rare for us to find/carry a starfish fossil of this size. The starfish takes up majority of the matrix and has a bold look to it. The dark color makes it pop, and there is a nice amount of detail along the arms and body. The plate is sold with a metal stand for easy display.
Measures: ~14" long x 12-1/2" wide x 1" deep, Starfish measures ~10" x 10-3/4"
Location: Erfoud, Morocco
Time period: Ordovician ~450 M.Y.O
Sea levels were at their highest levels of the Paleozoic Era during the Ordovician Period and saw water temperatures of more than 110° F. These conditions allowed marine life to flourish and led to wide diversification. It is during this time that sea stars (from the class Asteroidea) and brittle stars (from the class Ophiuroidea) diverged.
Sea stars, or starfish, tend to have legs that are wider and more connected to one another. They had tubular feet enabling them to move. Brittle stars on the other hand had narrower, more flexible arms that they wiggled in order to move around the sea floor. The type of brittle star fossils found in Morocco are of the genus Ophiura and are characterized by a disc-like body with long, thin legs radially arranged around it. In fossil plates their wavy arms give the appearance of dancing.
Although many Starfish are carnivores, feeding upon small fish, oysters and mollusks, some Starfish are omnivorous, supplementing their diets with organic particles such as algae.
As Starfish have been living in our seas and oceans for close to 1/2 billion years with very little change in their anatomy they are a classic example of what is referred to as a "living fossil".