Brittle Star

Reading the remains

These two brittle stars are from the ‘Starfish Bed’ between Eype and Seatown. Over the last two centuries, hundreds of similar fossils have been recovered from huge fallen blocks on the beach. Many, like the one on the right, have three legs pointing or trailing in broadly the same direction. The other two legs are also bent round in that direction. This suggests that there was a current flowing across the sea floor when these animals were buried, from right to left in this image.

Look above the right-hand specimen and you’ll see the ghostly outline of another brittle star. This could be a resting trace where a starfish left an impression in the sea bed before being washed away.

The other specimen has been damaged by animals that have burrowed through the sediment after the brittle star was buried.

 

 

Find out more about brittle stars on the echinoderms page.

 

Common name

Brittle Star

Scientific name

Palaeocoma egertoni

Type

Echinoderms > Starfish


Strata

Starfish Bed

Time period

Lower Jurassic

Age

180 million years

Where found

Seatown

Found by

Dave Halvkin

Museum

Bridport Museum

Accession number

BRPMG 10804