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Crinoid Fossils: Evidence of Millions of Years or the Global Flood?

Complete Fossilized Crinoids: Photo 19004163 © Anthony Aneese Totah Jr |
Fossilized complete crinoids from Kansas

Broken pieces of crinoid fossils can be found around the globe and throughout the earth’s strata. They are found from the bottom of Grand Canyon to the top of Mount Everest, from the Arctic to Antarctica, making crinoid stem pieces one of the most prevalent fossils we find.

Today, crinoids continue to thrive in the depths of the oceans, giving them the title of a “living fossil.” Though not a flower, their common name is “sea lily” due to their appearance. They are actually more like an anchored sea star, which uses its feathery arms to catch the food which floats past.

The fossil pieces also have a common name—Indian beads. With their cylinder shape and central hole, they were easily sewn on moccasins and clothing as decorations. Although the broken pieces are the most common, we also find complete crinoids transformed into fossils. The most fascinating finds are the complete fossils which are attached upside-down to driftwood.

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When we assume the global flood actually happened, we expect to find pieces of sea invertebrates.  It is the abundance of pieces and complete fossils found in the middle of the geological column which forms a bit of a puzzle. There are strata made entirely of huge mats of broken crinoids cemented together. In other places, the pieces are more scattered throughout the limestone.

Although rare, complete crinoids have been found in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.  These fossils look as if a field of sea lilies had suddenly, yet gently, been buried by mud.  Some biblical geologists think there are too many crinoid fossils to have all come from organisms living in the pre-flood ocean, and I would agree. But, this does not mean millions of years were required for the great number of crinoid fossils seen today.

The mystery clears when we consider these facts:

  • Crinoids begin life in a larva stage at the water’s surface
  • Crinoids grow from larva to reproducing adult in 4–12 months depending on the species
  • Crinoids probably reproduce (spawn) thousands if not millions of eggs at a time
    • related to sea stars which spawn 2.5 million per female
    • related to sand dollars which can spawn 350,000 per year
  • Decaying carcasses during the flood would have supplied crinoids with an abundant food source
  • The flood lasted for an entire year
  • After the inundating phase, but before the retreating stage, the entire earth was an ocean

Like a frog that lives as a tadpole before becoming a frog, many ocean-floor creatures live as tiny larvae (zooplankton) swimming at the surface before sinking to the seafloor and beginning their adult life. So, during the inundating flood stage, while the pre-flood adult crinoids were being destroyed and buried, their offspring were able to survive at the surface as larvae.

During the global sea phase, some of the pre-flood larvae would have attached to the abundant driftwood, while most would have sunk to the new ocean floor. This second generation of crinoids became reestablished on top of the layers of sediment that were laid during the inundating phase.

During the uplift and retreating phase some strata was lifted miles high and thus we find crinoid fossils on the Himalayas, even on Mount Everest. But most of the rock in these strata was eroded into the valley below. As the water drained off the newly formed continents, great amounts of sediment were eroded and reformed as new strata. Some of the re-established crinoids, along with the other seafloor life, were buried alive becoming complete fossils, but most were destroyed and their pieces scattered throughout the new layers.

Fossilized broken pieces of crinoid stems: Photo 14180620 © Antonio Ribeiro |
Broken crinoid stems cemented into black and white sedimentary rock.

The location we find the complete crinoid fossils in is very interesting. When one considers how the prairie states of North America seem to have a double portion of sediment while the Canadian Shield to the north is devoid of most sediment, it almost appears as if the strata from the Canadian shield was eroded onto these prairie states. It seems as if, as the shield uplifted, the sediment with its sea life was washed off in a huge mudflow which formed layer upon layer of fossil-rich limestone on top of the strata formed during the inundating stage.

This is so easily seen in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. The stratum of which can be compared to the landslide, ash, mud, and pyroclastic flows which quickly filled the Touttle River valley adjacent to Mount St Helens.

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As the geological events of Mount St Helen’s eruption demonstrate, fast-moving, water-saturated sediment can quickly form multiple layers of thin strata. So, with the entire globe being an ocean covered by millions of carcasses, there was ample space and food for the growth of all the crinoids we find fossilized today.

The global flood remains the best explanation for the existence of crinoid fossils.

Secular sites with great pictures and facts, but wrong interpretations and date assumptions:

Carla Estell portrait

Written by Carla Estell

Carla Estell is a 1987 graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. She has been involved in Christian education and her family's creation ministry which she and her husband Brian began in 1998. They traveled with their 6 homeschooled children through 48 states visiting geological sites, collecting fossils and sharing at camps, schools and churches. In 2016 they relocated to Illinois where Brian now works for Samaritan Ministries while Carla continues to homeschool, tutor and write. They are still available part time for seminars and VBS. More information about their ministry can be found at Stone’s True Story

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