Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?

Sand Dollar

Quick. Which is it?

The Four-Year-Old’s waiting.

Whether you call it a sea cookie, snapper biscuit, or pansy shell, the beach dweller known in the States as the sand dollar is in fact an animal. Improbable though that may seem when you’re looking at its flat little remnant in the sand.

OK, OK, so you probably knew that.

But here’s something you might not know, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Those bleached sand dollar lumps you find on the beach? They aren’t shells. They’re a type of rigid skeleton known as a test. In live sand dollars, that skeleton is covered by a skin full of hairy, velvety spines. Sand dollars use those green, blue, purple or violet spines to move along the seabed as they forage for food.

Related articles

  • 232 sand dollars (sivers.org): Go ahead. Click through. It’s an amazing story.

(Image of the sand dollar by kevindibble via Flickr)


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