Reference work entry
Echinoderm fossils are in the higher phylum Echinodermata of invertebrates. Modern sea stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers all belong to this phylum. Echinoderm fossils are found in rocks as old as the Cambrian. Echinoderm fossils are abundant in China. They have been found in Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic marine facies strata. Many are index fossils, such as Cystoidea, which gets its Chinese name ‘Sea Apple’ from its apple-like appearance. Cystoidea lived from the Ordovician to the Devonian. In general, structurally intact and clear fossils are rare. The Cystoidea fossils found in Baoshan in Yunnan Province have the highest quality and greatest beauty. Due to their complicated and distinctive structure and the rarity of perfect specimens, Cystoidea fossils are highly regarded for their ornamental value (Fig. 3).
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