The sea lilies (crinoids) are perhaps the most beautiful fossils in the Posidonia shale of Holzmaden. In spite of their name and appearance they are not plants, but in fact spiny-skinned marine animals.
A fully grown sea lily has one corona with five many-branched arms and a calyx at its base. A filter organ in the corona allows it to feed on marine plankton. The sea lilies either lived together in colonies, attached to driftwood, or swam freely in sea water as individual animals without ever being attached to the sea bed.
The world’s largest sea lily colony ever to be found and prepared is on exhibit in the Urweltmuseum Hauff. It measures 18 by 6 metres and was attached to a 12-metre long piece of driftwood. It took 18 years to prepare.