Danish scientists are in festive mood after a Danish fossil hunter found the
remains of a 65 million year-old sea urchin said to be the ‘missing link’ in
the world of echinoideans.
Sea urchins are found all over the world and are invertebrates with long
protective spines that live on the sea floor.
The remarkably well-preserved remains of the ancient urchin were found by
fossil hunter Leif Rasmussen in eastern Zealand and despite the millions of
years that it has been hidden, has maintained its spines.
“The shape of the spines are used to determine the different types of sea
urchins. But the spines on this one did not resemble anything we had seen
before,” says Museum Director Jesper Milàn of the Geomuseum Faxe, to whom
Ramussen delivered the specimen.
Sent for further study to the National Natural History Museum, sea urchin
specialist Søren Bo Andersen confirmed the missing link status of the chalky
“The urchin turned out to be the first known fossil link between two
types of well-known urchins - Tylocidaris baltica and Tylocidaris oedumi and
as such has great scientific value,” says Andersen.
Tylocidaris is an extinct genus of urchin that lived from the early Crustacean
to the Eocene period.
“It’s an extra bonus that this missing link has been found in the year of
Darwin,” says Jesper Milàn.