Elegant Scyphocrinites elegans Crinoids

Scyphocrinites elegans

Phylum Echinodermata, Class Crinoidea, Family Scyphocrinitidae

Geological Time: Silurian

Size: Crinoids are 7 3/4” and 9 1/4” in length (including the stalks) on an 11” x 14” plate

Fossil Site: Djebel Issoumour, Alnif, Morocco

Code: PFO430

Price: Sold

Scyphocrinites elegans Crinoid FossilDescription: This is an exceptionally well preserved multiple example of a distinctive Camerate crinoid type. Scyphocrinites have been found in Asia, North America, Europe, and Africa. Instead of being rooted to the ground like most crinoids, Scyphocrinites had a lobolith, which is a floating sphere that keeps an animal afloat in water. Unlike other crinoids, Scyphocrinites hung upside down at the surface. The dark 3D crinoid contrasts beautifully against the muted purple matrix. It would make a fantastic collection centerpiece, or, distinctive decorative display piece.

While researching Scyphocrinites, I came upon some very interesting information regarding their quarrying. At one location on a flat, dusty, parched plain, a large whole is burrowed by hand straight down about 16 feet. At the crinoid horizon level another tunnel is dug parallel to the crinoid zone. The earth and over burden are laboriously hauled to the surface by basket. The crinoid plates are then generally broken up into pieces and hauled up to the surface. They are then sent to various European countries for re-assembly and final preparation.

Like most fossils from Third World countries, these elegant crinoid plates are great bargains. At the Tucson Fossil and Mineral show I spoke to one of the worlds most important dealers of Moroccan fossils. He told me that he pays his workers about ten dollars a day. Evidently a respectable day wage by Moroccan standards.

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