Now those are some impressive echinoderms

They’re Macroptychaster sea stars and apparently they go along with a whole slew of possibly newly discovered species and large specimens of previously know ones found in Antarctic waters near New Zealand by a biological survey team.

They also ran ran across what they describe as “meadows of sea lilies” that covered hundreds of meters of sea floor, which sounds like a scene from the Permian period.

Photo NOT from this survey.

Sea lilies AKA crinoids are a relative of the sea stars and a fairly common fossil (at least their stems) in for example the Kaibab limestone which is found in parts of the Southwestern United States. For example the topmost layer of the Grand Canyon is comprised of this formation.

Anyway CNN.com has the article on the survey.

Update (3-31): Here is a link to the National Geographic web page with more pictures from this survey.

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