Bundenbach Brittlestar Ophiurina lymani

Name: Ophiurina lymani

Phylum Echinodermata, Class Ophiuroidea, Order Ophiurida

Geologic Time: Lower Devonian Seigenian/Emsian Stage

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): 37 mm armspan

Fossil Site: Hunsruck Slate, Bundenbach Germany

Bundenbach BrittlestarThis is a particularly well preserved specimen of an Ophuroid (brittlestar) fossil known as Ophiurina lymani. The Hunsruck slate is famous for its fossils, many of which have pyritization present. Rapid burial and pyritization was what led to the many wonderful examples of early Devonian life from the region. The chemistry of the silt was such that low organic content and high levels of iron and sulfur allowed the pyrite to diffuse into the tissues rather than be deposited in the sediment. The mudstones were metamorphosed into slate during the Carboniferous. The slate was quarried for roofing tiles, and the quarrymen would save the fossils for later sale. Now that the quarries are no longer open, future supplies of these wonderfully preserved benthic organisms will only come from existing collections. This is an exceptional example from this famous Lagerstatt fossil site.

click fossil pictures to enlarge

Fossil Museum Navigation:
Geological Time Paleobiology Geological History Tree of Life
Fossil Sites Fossils Evolution Fossil Record Museum Fossils