Urasterella Bundenbach Starfish Fossil

Name: Urasterella verruculosa (Ophiuroid or brittlestar fossil)

Phylum Echninodermata; Class Ophiuroidea; Order Ophiurida

Geological Time: Lower Devonian Seigenian/Emsian Stage

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): 61 mm armspan on a 180 by 130 mm matrix

Location: Hunsruck Slate, Bundenbach Germany

Bundenbach Starfish UrasterellaDescription: Well-preserved example of an Ophiuroid (brittlestar) known as Urasterella verrucucolsa. 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 one is quite well-preserved. The species name refers to its verruculose exoskeleton, a word that means covered with wart-like prominences.

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