The fossil at the moment of its discovery. Photo: Courtesy of Carlos R. Borges Sellén

RODAS, Cienfuegos.–Cuba’s first discovery of a Cretaceous period starfish fossil recently occurred in the municipality of Rodas.

It was found by researcher and member of the Cuban Society of Geology, Carlos Rafael Borges Sellén, who told Granma that the fossil was uncovered at the Aguadita farm, about six kilometers from the municipal capital of Rodas, Cienfuegos province, as part of the identification of new sites in the Damují Paleontological Region.

With a diameter of four centimeters, the fossil was discovered on the banks of a stream on said farm, where Cretaceous strata outcrops composed of fine polymictic sands were recorded, accompanied by a rich marine fauna of invertebrate macrofossils.

An authority on the subject in Cuba, Doctor of Geological Sciences Reynaldo Rojas Consuegra, noted that the recent discovery is the oldest known example of this type of organism on the archipelago, and the only one to date from the Cretaceous period.

There are only two previous known scientific reports of starfish fossils found in Cuba, written in the 20th century by renowned paleontologist Mario Sánchez Roig, consisting of two species: Nymphaster miocenicus and Stauranderauster sanchezi, both dating from the Tertiary period.