Swiss Journal of Palaeontology

, Volume 137, Issue 2, pp 205–210 | Cite as

Form and function of the strangest crinoid stem: Devonian of Morocco

  • Stephen K. DonovanEmail author
  • Johnny A. Waters
  • Mark S. Pankowski
Regular Research Article


Trombonicrinus (col.) hanshessi gen. et sp. nov. is a crinoid species of unusual morphology and is based solely on the stem. It comes from the (probably Lower) Devonian of Tafraoute, Anti Atlas Mountains, Morocco. It is a long crinoid stem of circular section, tapering distally throughout, with a tight curvature through 180º between the mesistele and proxistele; attachment is distally by short, pointed, unsegmented pseudoradices. The overall appearance is reminiscent of the slide of a trombone. The dististele is essentially straight, the mesistele is more or less convoluted, and the proxistele is straight and parallels the more distal stem. The dististele was attached to an upright object around which the pseudoradices formed a close attachment. The crinoid’s stem was growing down towards the substrate. The mesistele was free of the attachment surface and grew in a more convoluted manner. The proxistele was adapted to elevate the crown, growing upwards and in the opposite direction of the rest of the crinoid. This is a form unique to T. (col.) hanshessi and not recognised hitherto in the Crinoidea. The conical, most proximal part of this stem in the holotype may suggest that it was immediately beneath the cup; the specimen is considered complete apart from the crown. The loss of the crown was most likely the result of autotomy. Although the proxistele of the paratype is relatively longer, it is probably incomplete. This crinoid was either a cladid or a camerate.


Trombonicrinus (col.) Tafraoute Functional morphology Life orientation Attachment Pseudoradices 



This paper is a contribution to IGCP 596. The paratype was photographed by C. Gonzalez at Appalachian State University. Thoughtful reviews by Professors Gary D. Webster (Washington State University, Pullman) and William I. Ausich (The Ohio State University, Columbus) are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz (SCNAT) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen K. Donovan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Johnny A. Waters
    • 2
  • Mark S. Pankowski
    • 3
  1. 1.Taxonomy and Systematics GroupNaturalis Biodiversity CenterRA LeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Geological and Environmental SciencesAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  3. 3.RockvilleUSA

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