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Friday, February 6, 2009
About 220 million years ago, an ancestor of the starfish died in a shallow sea in what is now upstate New York. The creature is known now as a “crionoid.” Local geology professor Dr. Alan Benimoff spotted its fossilized remains in a 15-foot high limestone gravestone in Staten Island’s Moravian Cemetery. The marker was erected in 1863 for 29-year-old Brigadier General Stephen Weed. He was killed in the battle of Gettysburg that same year. Nothing is known of this particular ancient creature, save for its fossilized remains. One can only wonder if 220 million years from now, Weed will be identified as easily as was this nameless crionoid who shares a cold stone with him among the weeds.