Class Crinoidea, Family Scyphocrinitidae
plate size is 22 ½” in width by 24” in height. There
are five primary complete crinoids with stalks and crowns. In length,
including stalks, they are 18 1/2”, 15”, 11 ½”,
9 ½”, and one that is 7” with it’s stalk on
a 90 degree angle
Djebel Issoumour, Alnif, Morocco
This is an example of an exceptionally well-preserved example
of a distinctive Camerate crinoid type multi-specimen mortality
plate. 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.
All of the specimens are impeccably preserved, showing fine detail
of the stalk, aboral cup, arms and pinnules. The pink matrix
contrasts aesthetically with the muted whites and tans of the
crinoids. The specimens are lifelike, 3D and inflated. They rest
comfortably in an elegant, poetic, metaphoric dance of death.
The crinoid arms though still, seem to be almost perceptibly
moving in the currents of timelessness. It would make a splendid
decorative example of nature’s art, or, fantastic collection
centerpiece. The plate will be shipped with the sturdy metal
stand shown in the photos.
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.