Furcaster palaeozoicus
Fossil Starfish

This 7.5 inch by 6.0 inch slab from the Lower Devonian (390 million year old) Hunsruck slate of the Rhine region near Bundenbach, Germany holds an example of a starfish known as Furcaster palaeozoicus. Its arms are 1.2 - 1.6 inches across, and all-in -all it is a fine example of life in the shallow seas of the time. The central body makes it easy to understand the appellation aster, or star, in Latin. Notice that even the "hydraulic system" by which the starfish moved is preseved in great detail. The starfish itself is highlighted in pyrite, indicative of the anoxic conditions under which it was preserved. The last active quarry in the region has been closed rendering it increasingly difficult to obtain quality specimens such as this.

Courtesy -
John Adamek

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