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Eocrinoide - Ascocystites sp.

Eocrinoide - Ascocystites sp.
Location: Morocco - Agdez, Sahara
Age: Ordovician

Size: 155 x 80 x 15 mm.
Weight: 360 grams

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The Eocrinoidea are an extinct class of echinoderms that lived between the Early Cambrian and Late Silurian periods. They are the earliest known group of stalked, arm-bearing echinoderms, and were the most common echinoderms during the Cambrian.

The eocrinoids were a paraphyletic group that may have been ancestral to six other classes: Rhombifera, Diploporita, Coronoidea, Blastoidea, Parablastoidea, and Paracrinoidea. The earliest genera had a short holdfast and irregularly structured plates. Later forms had a fully developed stalk with regular rows of plates. They were benthic suspension feeders, with five ambulacra on the upper surface, surrounding the mouth and extending into a number of narrow arms. 

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