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Missouri: Delocrinus missouriensis (state fossil)
Missouri has chosen a crinoid, Delocrinus missouriensis, as its state fossil. This type of stalked echinoderm, known as a "sea lily," was a common inhabitant of the shallow sea that encroached on Missouri during the Pennsylvanian Period, around 290 million years ago. Crinoids of various types flourished in the oceans during most of the Paleozoic Era, and a few still survive today as "living fossils."
Echinoderms as a group also include sea urchins and starfish. They have pentagonal (five-fold) symmetry and an external skeleton composed of many small calcium carbonate plates. These plates interlock in sea urchins and sand dollars, increasing the likelihood that a complete creature will fossilize. In crinoids, the small ossicles usually dis articulate when the animal dies, and complete fossils are rare, whereas the ossicles themselves are abundant and widely collected.
Pennsylvanian limestones chock full of crinoid ossicles are commonly exposed in Missouri, especially the Callaway and Burlington Formations which outcrop near Springfield and Kansas City. Because of this, a group of students at Pleasant Lea Jr. High in Lee's Summit proposed the crinoid as the state fossil, and the legislature passed Act 10.090 on June 16, 1989, officially honoring Delocrinus missouriensis.
Parking is a available on the side of the road at this location where you will find three outcroppings of limestone with an abundance of crinoid fossils everywhere you look.
Although there is very little traffic on this road please watch for cars and trucks.
To complete this cache you will need to bring with you two items:
1. a digital camera
2. a 6" ruler or other measuring device of at least 6 inches
Answer the following:
1. To log the cache take and post a picture of your favorite fossil area with your ruler next to the many crionoids. Count how many crinoids segments are in any 6 inch area you selected that are touching your ruler and list that information in your log.
2. What do the crinoids look like? Describe in your log what the crinoid segments remind you of.
An additional photo of you at the site with your gps would be a great also but not required.
Please leave all the fossils you find at the site so everyone can enjoy them for a million more years. The area may also have a bit of a trash problem. Please do your part when visiting this site and try to remove at least one piece of litter. We can all make a difference one item at a time.
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Last Updated: on 11/15/2017 3:22:05 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (11:22 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum