Stars in the Silurian sky. A case study from the Carnic Alps, Austria


  • A. FERRETI Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e Geologiche, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia. Via Campi 103, I-41125 Modena, Italy.
  • W. I. AUSICH Division of Earth History, School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University. 125 S. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
  • C. CORRADINI Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e Geologiche, Università di Cagliari. Via Trentino 51, I-09127 Cagliari, Italy.
  • M. G. CORRIGA Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e Geologiche, Università di Cagliari Via Trentino 51, I-09127 Cagliari
  • H. P. SCHÖNLAUB Austrian Academy of Sciences, Commission for Geosciences, Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna, Austria.



Echinoderms, Holdfast, Functional morphology, Palaeoecology, Iron, Cardiola Formation.


A small collection of echinoderm holdfasts from the Ludlow Cardiola Formation of the Carnic Alps (Austria) contains a wide range of morphologies as a response of environmental adaptation. In general, the holdfasts have a globous and massive dome-like profile with several processes arranged in a sub-radial disposition, so to create a sort of “star-like” outline. A small central depression is common but not present on all specimens. The distinctive holdfasts are preserved in an iron-rich phase, documenting a substitution that has also affected other non-echinoderm calcareous material.