“Diamond” starfish

"Diamond" starfish

It has been recently discovered that some species of modern starfish form a calcite skeleton with a triply periodic trabecular microstructure resembling the atomic structure of diamond, composed of a network of hexagonally ordered four-armed tetrapods, which gives them extraordinary mechanical strength, optimum packing in space, and minimum material expenditure. We described a similar microstructure in a Devonian crinoid from the Holy Cross Mountains. Such a highly ordered microstructure, additionally enriched in magnesium, might have developed in these echinoderms in response to increased predation pressure.

The atomic structure of a diamond composed of interconnected tetrahedrons and a breakwater made of wave-dissipating tetrapods juxtaposed with the microstructure of Recent starfish and Devonian crinoids.

PUBLICATION: Gorzelak P., Kołbuk D., Stolarski J., Bącal P., Januszewicz B., Duda P., Środek D., Brachaniec T., Salamon M.A., 2023. A Devonian crinoid with a diamond microlattice. Proceedings of The Royal Society B 290: 20230092, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2023.0092