A starfish that is virtually half-a-billion years previous is to go on show

A fossilised starfish that’s virtually half-a-billion years previous is about to be an enormous attraction when it goes on show in Dublin. The ophiuroid starfish, generally often called a brittle star, is dated at 435 million years previous and it was found in Connemara within the west of Ireland.

This fossilised starfish found in Connemara, Co. Galway has been dated at 435 million years previous. Image: Royal Irish Academy

Brittle stars first advanced round 500 million years in the past and have survived comparatively unchanged to the current day. This specimen was found within the Maam Valley in Galway by Dr. Eamonn Doyle, geologist for the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Unesco Global Geopark and Clare County Council, and has been named ‘Crepidosoma doyleii’ in his honour. The starfish was uncovered found within the Maamturk mountain vary, after Dr. Doyle meticulously combed it for fossils throughout his PhD research.

A fossilised starfish was found in Maam Valley, Co. Galway. Image: pskeltonphoto

“The remote areas of the west of Ireland continue to yield some exceptional fossils with a significant impact on understanding of the history of life,” says Prof. David Harper from the UK, who carried out the research on the starfish with worldwide researchers, Prof. Daniel B. Blake from the US and Prof. Stephen Ok. Donovan from the Netherlands. “These new and unique specimens of fossil starfish from the Silurian rocks of Connemara are a key piece of evidence in the hunt for ancient life in the long-vanished ocean that once covered Ireland, some 435 million years ago.”

Mamean path, Maam Valley, Co. Galway. Image: pskeltonphoto

Details of analysis into the uncommon discovering have been printed within the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, which is printed by the Royal Irish Academy. The fossilised starfish will quickly be housed within the Natural History Museum in Dublin.

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