A new fossil has been found on the floor of Ocean which went extinct millions years ago. It is a connecting link between two marine life forms which has been discovered recently. In Honshu and Shikoku region of Japan, crinoids a non skeletal coral was found on the pacific ocean off the coasts. They are often known as sea lilies growing from stalk of marine animals.
In Paleozoic era, these sea lilies and corals were adapted very well. It’s all over the seabed fossil record, with endless records of corals re-sodding crinoid tips to ascend just above seabed into the surrounding water and sensor in stronger ocean circulation.
But, both of these disappeared from the fossils around 273 million years ago. In Mesozoic era, following the Permian Triassic extinction, many other crinoid and corals emerged but these kind of symbiotic relationship was not seen in them.
Recently, hexacorals of the genera Abyssoanthus, which is very rare, and Metridioidea, a type of sea anemone were found in the depths exceeding 300 feet below the ocean surface.
Stereoscopic Microscopy was used to observe these specimens by paleontologists of the University of Warsaw in Poland. The photographs of these specimens were observed under these microscope.
Further, the specimens were scanned to reveal their internal structure. Their DNA were examined to identify the species to which they belong. It was found that corals attached to the crinoids did not compete with its host for food and neither affected their flexibility as they were skeleton less. But anemone have affected the crinoids movement to some extent.
It is still unclear that what benefits did crinoids get after being in symbiotic relationship with the corals, but newly found specimens did not bother to modify the skeletal structure of the crinoids.
Also it is believed that modern relation between the coral and crinoids could potentially contain some information ab0ut the Paleozoic specimens. Although the amount of specimens retrieved so far is limited, now that we know they exist, maybe more project can be completed to learn more about this interesting symbiotic relationship’s past.