A Jogging Flower (Reprise)

Our most popular post from our Blogger days did not fair so well in the migration to SB and Movable Type. I am reposting it here now for posterity.

A relative of the starfish, crinoids are neither abundant nor well understood. Also known as "sea lilies" or "feather stars" the strange creatures consist of a mouthpart, feeding arms and generally have a stem that connects them to the sea floor. Scientists have long known that crinoids were capable of moving themselves, albeit at a very slow pace, to outmaneuver predators such as sea urchins. Their fastest speed had been clocked at .6 meters per hour, which means their entire existence is probably a lot like one of those dreams where you are being chased by something but can only move in slow-motion. However, researchers viewing the sea floor in a submersible off Grand Bahama recorded astonishing footage of a stemmed crinoid practically galloping along the ocean floor.

i-22c9727458f86a38f776395039ce4827-crinoid creeping.gif
Insert Chariots of Fire theme here

i-fa21f483a6bf8e81b8f358ad1f9acb34-crinoid closeup.jpg
Sea-lily or feather-star, Neocrinus decorus, in normal feeding posture. Longer and grainier version of the video.

More like this

A relative of the starfish, crinoids are neither abundant nor well understood. Also known as "sea lilies" or "feather stars" the strange creatures consist of a mouthpart, feeding arms and generally have a stem that connects them to the sea floor. Scientists have long known that crinoids were…
Charles Messing graciously shared these pictures with DSN of crawling crinoids. You can see the full movie here. Cenocrinus asterius, a larger species, in the process of crawling up a roch off of Grand Cayman Island at about 228m Neocrinus decorus in normal feeding posture at…
"Pet" Giant Pycnogonid attacking computer. This morning my email was flooded with friends, family, and colleagues notifying me of this story. What's not to love about a story that combines gigantism, the deep, and Antarctica all in one? An Australian led expedition to the deep Southern Ocean…
Crinoids, a class of marine animals in the phylum Echinodermata, are pretty creatures. The photo at right shows a crinoid perched on a Malaysian reef with its fluffy arms extended for feeding. Looking at the photo, it's easy to see how they acquired their common name, Feather Stars. This is how…

Hurray for radial symmetry. Cool clip.

According to the palaeo-electronica article they were capable of speeds of 10 mm/s to bursts of 30 mm/s, as opposed to speeds of 0.1 mm/s recorded beforehand. Granted that little fellow is only moving at about 1/4 of a mile per hour (has the animated .gif been sped up?), it still is amazing that an animal can unexpectedly move at a couple orders of magnitude faster than previously known.

And is it just me, or is there something creepy and somewhat Lovecraftian about all those spindly "legs" moving an otherwise stationary organism?

Ain't it called pentamerous symmetry or something like that?