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.

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(Image of the sand dollar by kevindibble via Flickr)


About Shala Howell

I write about wildly curious kids, rabbits who hunt dragons, and 1880s Boston. When I’m not scratching my head over pesky characters who refuse to do things how I want them done or dreaming of my next book (which will of course be much easier to write than the current one), I blog about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at, muse about books and the writing life at, or tweet about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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One Response to Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?

  1. Pingback: Fossil sanddollar | Zylanbrooks

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