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Crinoids are an ancient fossil group that first appeared in the seas of the middle Cambrian, about 300 million years before dinosaurs. They flourished in the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic, and some survive to the present day. Crinoids are marine animals and have an array of branching arms (brachials) is arranged around the top of a globe-shaped, cup-like structure (calyx) containing the main body of the animal. This calyx was attached to a flexible stem that was anchored to the sea bed.

Crinoids are sometimes referred to as sea lilies  because of their resemblance to a plant or flower.


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