Specimen: Urchin Spine Fossils
This table contains the geological time periods of the past 2.5 billion years on Earth to aid in understanding age immense age of these fossils.(Ma = Mega-annum = 1,000,000 years)
|EON||ERA||PERIOD||EXTENT (Ma)||DURATION (Ma)|
These sea urchin spines are from the Jurassic Period. This makes them between 145 and 201 million years old.
Sea urchins, which comprise the taxonomic class Echinoidea, are some of the oldest organisms on Earth. They first evolved 450 million years ago.
These creatures are widely distributed around the world, but the subgroup these fossils belong to, Cidaridae, primarily live in the abyssal zone of the oceans. Some are even known to live in the frigid waters of Antarctica.
Cidaridae spines form in many different shapes and sizes, including thin needles, fans, bulbs, and more.
These urchins are the only group that do not have skin on their spines. Interestingly, their massive, skinless spines, not only prevent predators from reaching their body, they also provide an ideal surface for sponges, bryozoans, and other tiny sea creatures to make their home.
We just had our class and I displayed the fossils. The kids loved them and did wish there were more. Very cool to have and talk about.
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