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The fossil starfish

Burren geologist discovers 435 million year old starfish species

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Burren and Cliffs of Moher geologist Dr Eamon Doyle has made a pretty cool discovery in the wilds of Maam Valley in Connemara.

He found a new species of fossil starfish, which began to form a whopping 435 million years ago.

Cooler still, the fossil has been named ‘Crepidosoma doyleii’ in honour of its discoverer.

Dr. Doyle said he was delighted with the nod from his fellow palaeontologists.

“I wish to thank Clare County Council and the Geological Survey for their support and I look forward to presenting some new fossils from the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark in the near future,” he added.

Brittle stars first evolved around 500 million years ago and have survived relatively unchanged to the present day, although the ocean that was home to ‘Crepidosoma doyleii’ disappeared 400 million years ago due to plate tectonic movements of the Earth’s crust.

The specimens are housed in the National Museum (Natural History) in Dublin.

Dr Doyle’s discovery is detailed in the latest issue of The Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, published by the Royal Irish Academy.

For more visit www.ria.ie/irish-journal-earth-sciences or www.burrengeopark.ie.

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