The Crinoid Review

How the review works

The aim of the review is to establish material that is of scientific merit and specimens which are good representatives, possessing public potential for display and community events. These two criteria do not necessarily go hand in hand; as a specimen may have a fantastic scientific research potential, but may not be visually impressive. Therefore the specimens are graded against two separate criteria: Scientific Merit (as a numerical value of stars) and Public Engagement (as a Gold, Silver or Bronze status).

For a more in depth look into the review criteria, click on the “Review Criteria” tab in the tool bar above.


The Crinoid review

Fiona research

Fiona referencing a crinoidal slab.


The Crinoid collection consists of 13 trays. It was decided that the amount of material would suit the review being conducted as a detailed, systematic, tray by tray investigation, rather than an initial overview of the entire collection, followed by an in depth look at a compiled shortlist.



Day One.

Dr Fiona Fearnhead led the review with some very obvious and truly spectacular specimens jumping out from the start.



The scientific highlight is the historically important holotype of Platycrinites selwoodensis (2 Gold stars – Leedm.B.2009.065.1) and a Dialutocrinus triacondylactilus (1 Gold star – Leedm.B.2009.065.2) both specimens are from Frome in Somerset, UK.



Fiona holotype

Fiona taking a quick picture of a star specimen.


In addition to these specimens, the collection contains some important Ludlow and Wren’s Nest UK SSSI material, with some specimens from historically important collectors; notably associations with Etheldred Benett and the Leeds collector Benjamin Holgate.




The systematic review highlighted a lot of material as having wonderful potential for public engagement with limited scientific merit, notably a Pentacrinus fossilis  (0 Gold stars – Leedm.B.2010.127) exhibiting beautifully preserved brachials, pinnules and cirris.



In addition, a Periechocrinties mammiliformis  (1 Gold star – Leedm.B.1990.01.4076) exhibiting three calcified zenomorphic stems, illustrating the columnal transition from base to cup. There is also a good example of a Platycrinites sp. (1 Bronze star – Leedm.B.TN5184) being a mass of crinoidal columnars and ossicles on a limestone matrix.












Some interesting material with research potential was discovered, specimens of note are Periechorinus sp. (2 Gold stars – Leedm.B.TN4694) from the Wren’s Nest SSSI site, exhibiting a fine calyx structure and articulated brachials.















Along with a Periechocrinus moliliformis                     (1 Silver star – Leedm.B.TN1154), featuring crinoidal material on both surfaces of the Wenlock limestone.


Day Two.

The review resumed with some amazing and somewhat surprising discoveries, notably an uncommon holdfast from a Woodocrinus sp. (2 Silver stars – Leedm.B.TN5536), these are often overlook when collecting, and can be a rarity in museum collections. There was also the discovery of numerous Apiocrinus sp. ossicles and complete calyces from the Jurassic, Bradford clay. One of note is the Apiocrinus parkinsoni (0 Bronze stars – Leedm.B.TN1160).









Three other unidentified crinoids specimens of note are: a mass of crinoidal material on a limestone matrix (0 Silver stars – Leedm.B.TN168); a fine plated calyx with articulated delicate brachials and pinnules (2 Silver stars – Leedm.B.TN1148); and a wonderful example, exhibiting fine anatomical details of a proximal columnar (1 Silver star – Leedm.B.TN1161).














Two specimens worthy of a mention but not photographed here are: (1 Clear star – Leedm.B.TN1347) an unidentified crinoid that exhibits a physical response to environmental or parasitic stresses; and a wonderful specimen of Periechocrinites  moniliformis (3 Gold stars – Leedm.B.2008.00.006) from the Wren’s Nest SSSI, which is on display in the Life on Earth Gallery at Leeds City Museum.


The review was finally capped off with Fiona enlightening me to the absolutely incredible footage of a crawling extant crinoid… Amazing!


The review covered 178 crinoid specimens, establishing the following summary.

crin rev


Gold = A truly amazing specimen; Silver = A very good specimen that has great potential; Bronze = A good specimen which can demonstrate a particular feature; Clear = A specimen that has limited visual qualities.

3 stars = High scientific importance. 2 stars = Moderate scientific importance. 1 star = Fair scientific importance. 0 stars = Limited or no scientific importance.


Summary of the Crinoid collection.


The collection contains some research possibilities, and has broad examples from a periodic breadth, with many facets of columnals that could warrant future research into stems, with the Silurian material being from key localities of historical significance. There are numerous Apinocrinites specimens which can illustrate calyx and stem articulation within the group, using individual sections, ossicles and cross sections. The abundance of Carboniferous material can easily illustrate size changes and morphology adaptations.



Sadly the loss of data on some prime specimens diminishes research value, and the unfortunate pyrite decay of a large Lyme Regis specimen.


To close, I would like to say a huge “thank you” to Fiona for reviewing this material and the laughs along the way.


The Crinoids, along with all the other collections are open and free for anyone to view by appointment, just call Leeds Discovery Centre on 0113 378 2100 or email


Posted on December 2, 2014, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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