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Lingulodinium polyedrum is a single-celled organism belonging to a group of algae called dinoflagellates. It is armored, meaning it has a hard outer coating. Lingulodinium polyedrum forms cysts, or resting stages, as part of its life cycle. Another notable feature of L. polyedrum is bioluminescence – a blue flashing light is visible at night when water with high concentrations of cells is disturbed. This species is widely distributed in temperate and subtropical waters of coastal areas.
The fossil comes from the Bellevue formation in Ohio. Image via Wiki Commons This is Streptaster vorticellatus, a member of the Edrioasteroidea class. It lived “only” 450 million years ago, during a period called the Ordovician. The body plan for this class was simple: a main body (theca), composed of many small plates, a peripheral rim for attachment, and (in some species) a pedunculate zone for extension and retraction.