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Bargain Sand Dollar Fossil Astrodapsis - California

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Bargain Sand Dollar Fossil Astrodapsis - California

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Astrodapsis antiselli (Conrad, 1856)

Santa Margarita Sandstone
San Luis Obispo county, California, USA

Miocene Period (10 Million Years Old)

Sand Dollar : 1.5 inches diameter
Matrix : 2 x 1.72 in.

1 inch = 2.54 cm

A nice sand dollar fossil resting on the original matrix. In a specific layer of the Santa Margarita Formation, the skeletons of the urchins did not preserve as well, as only the heavy broad plates maintained.


Discovered along California's central coast, these fossil sand dollars represent a genus of echinoderm that no longer exist in modern times. This specifies genus, the Astrodapsis, was abundant off shore the Miocene to Pliocene coastline of a region that would have stretched from roughly south of San Francisco, California south to Baja, Mexico. Living along what must have been thousands of oysters, barnacles, and scallops, these tropical seas were also home to many fish and shark species, evident by the other fossils discovered at this site.

These fossil sand dollars are found in a section of the Santa Margarita Formation in San Luis Obispo county in a region known for agate mineralization of the fossils. Occasionally these sand dollar fossils will have hints of orange, red, and pink agate internally. In a region rich with micro-faults, the compression is clearly seen on some of these fossil specimens as well in very interesting compositions. The matrix from which these are collected is very brittle, so it is necessary to stabilize the matrix after the initial preparation is completed, making for a sturdy, displayable piece that will last forever.

Each of these specimens were collected and prepared by hand, by us at AETC.