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On the wikipedia page of crinoids (sea lilies and feather stars), one can find the following statement in the paragraph "Morphology":

[...] and fossil species are known with 20 m (66 ft) stems, the largest recorded crinoid having a stem 40 m (130 ft) in length.

They also give some sources for this, but they also just mention the fact without specifying the fossil/species. When searching on the internet about the largest known crinoid species, one can find very often similar claims, but again without any source (probably coming from wikipedia in the end). In general, I am slightly doubting the statement about 40m of length: Statements about size of large organisms are very often exaggerated. For example, in popular science books, one can often find lengths for the giant squid (Architeuthis dux) of about 20m, while the truely largest individual every measured with scientific methods was probably "only" about 12m (see the paper here for example), which is of course still pretty impressive. In the words of S. J. Gould: "Our strong and biased predilection for focusing on extremes generates all manner of deep and stubborn errors".

Anyway, I would like to know how large/tall crinoids can get by knowing how large the largest species ever to be found was (preferably with a scientific resource supporting the claim). On my internet research, I found the species Seirocrinus subangularis (Miller, 1821) from the early Jurassic with stem lengths of about 20m, although also here the statements about size vary a lot from 15 to 25m and I am not able to find a precise, confirmed, statement.

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    $\begingroup$ Woah I understand your frustration. The web info on that is all confused without science references. a 40m fossil is very unlikely in one piece, the biggest fossil ever uncovered, and if it was on a slab of rock somewhere, it would be famous among geologists and would have been in old newspapers as a local and great discovery. 1820's fossil id's are no accurate by today's standards, and if the fossil is gone, the reference is vague. I found an 18 meter claim of reference here: libraries.ou.edu/content/crinoid ... I am treating the wiki figure like complete nonsense. $\endgroup$ Sep 5, 2023 at 8:26
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    $\begingroup$ I recommend the big guns on this... fossil forums is the biggest fossil forum full of serious, impassioned paleo academics. And Reddit is pretty specialized, too. Because this is a serious shortcoming in the web science references, and people are copying that wiki claim of 40 meters all over the web. $\endgroup$ Sep 5, 2023 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ @bandybabboon thanks a lot! Yes, indeed, a 40m fossil is really unlikely. I will check out the fossil forum and keep this post here up to date in case I get an answer there. $\endgroup$ Sep 5, 2023 at 9:18

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Probably 40ft not 40m

Without a species name any claim like this is dubious. The wiki quote is not from a primary source but a fluff book which makes it even more questionable.

Unfortunately you are running into a issue were a lot of early paleontology work has not been digitized yet. the specimen in question is from 1906 so finding a digital copy to confirm is basically impossible. So we can only rely on the questionable sourcing to determine how accurate it is.

My best guess is this is a misquote on a real specimen.

geologypage.com has article about largest known crinoid specimens.

Taxocrinus saratogensis One of the largest fossil crinoids ever discovered was found in the state of Indiana in the United States. The crinoid, which belongs to the species Taxocrinus saratogensis, was discovered in 1906 by a team of geologists led by John M. Clarke. The specimen is estimated to be around 350 million years old and is believed to have lived during the Devonian period. The crinoid is incredibly large, with a stem measuring more than 40 feet in length and a crown that measures more than 10 feet in diameter. The entire specimen is estimated to have weighed more than 10 tons when it was alive. This makes it one of the largest fossil crinoids ever discovered.

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