The World of Living Fossils – Crinoids.

This week, we will be looking at a rather strange living fossil – sea lilies. At first glance they look like plants that live in the sea – hence the name ‘sea lilies.’ They are, however, a type of animal!

An amazing Sea Lily – Photo credit: creative commons.

Their proper name is ‘crinoids’, and they belong to a special group of marine animals. They have a long stem that attaches them to the sea-floor, and a ‘cup’ on top. This cup contains all the animal parts, such as the mouth, gut, anus, and arms. The arms have two purposes. To filter out oxygen, and to catch small animals (called plankton) for food.

Crinoid diagram – creative commons.

 They live deep in the ocean in today’s world, and come in many shapes, sizes, and colours. There are over 600 species! But in the past, there were many, many more – bigger, better, and more diverse!

 They are living fossils, because they are identical to modern ones. The fact that they were bigger and better in the past, does not mean they evolved into the ones that are around today, but were simply more diverse, before dying out – leaving us only with a few that could survive.

 Some of the ones on display in the Genesis Museum of Creation Research show two very interesting things. First, they are often mixed up in a jumble of other fossils – mixed up in a mass-death dump! This is evidence they were swept up very quickly and dumped in a pile. They also are incredibly well preserved. We know from today that crinoids are extremely fragile – just a change in sea currents can cause them to disintegrate. So to get fossilised, they had to be buried extremely quickly and well!

To find out more about the fossils in the Genesis Museum of Creation Research, visit:

God bless and see you next week!