Chalk Asteroids (Starfish) Incorporated into Burrows
The Chalk is often highly bioturbated (disrupted and churned by the action of burrowing creatures), and these burrows are commonly lined with skeletal remains. Typically the remains of are fish scales (a trace fossil known as Terebella lewesiensis) but tubular arrangements of plant fragments are also not uncommon and these may represent burrows too. Only rarely are burrows found to be lined with the ossicles of starfish. It is unclear whether the skeletal elements reflects the diet of the burrow-maker, or whether the elements had a purely structural function, supporting a burrow in soft chalk-ooze sediment.
1). Burrow lined with ossicles of Valettaster cf. argus (Seaford Chalk, Thanet Coast, Kent, in the collection of Keith Little): (A) General view (x2.5); (B) Broken section showing that the ossicles are forming a discrete cylindrical wall to the burrow (x5.0). Images © 2011 Keith Little, by kind permission.