Sunday, January 3, 2016

Zeacrinites wortheni Crinoid Calyx

This image shows a nice crinoid calyx fossil called Zeacrinites wortheni (Hall, 1858). It was found in the Indiana Springs Member of Crawford County, Indiana, USA. The fossil dates to the lower Carboniferous Period (Mississippian).

Zeacrinites was named by a Dutch-American scientist Gerard Troost (1776-1850) in the 1800s, he derived the name from Zea (maize or corn) and the Greek kronon (lily) after his assistant said the fossil resembled 'a petrified corn cob'. This account is reiterated in the 1909 Smithsonian Institution United States National Museum Bulletin 64 A Critical Summary of Troost's Unpublished Manuscript on the Crinoids of Tennessee by Elvira Woods (1865-1928) of Columbia University, New York City on page 89.

"in fact it resembles as much a corn cob, as an Apriocrinus resembles a pear or a Rhodocrinus a rose... I gave it only a scientific appearance, to which I have joined the name of another plant which adorns our western forests by the beauty of its flowers and delicacy of its perfume namely the magnolia, by which I was surrounded when I found it."

I believe this species was named for a paleontologist from Illinois named Amos Henry Worthen (1813-1888). Worthern was James Hall's assistant while he was State Geologists of Iowa 1855-1857.

Thanks for the image Kenny.