Turning to fossil Asteroidea, we find the earlier ophiurids scarcely distinguishable from the asterids, while in the alternation of the ambulacrals, which undoubtedly correspond to the flooring-plates of Edrioaster, both groups approach the Pelmatozoan type.
It is spheroidal, with the mouth and anus at opposite poles; there are five ambulacra, and the ambulacral plates are large, simple and alternating, each being pierced by two podial pores which lie in a small oval depression; the ambulacrals next the mouth form a closed ring of ten plates; the interambulacrals lie in single columns between the ambulacra, and are separated from the mouth-area by the proximal ambulacrals just mentioned, and sometimes by the second set of ambulacrals also; the ambulacra end in the five oculars or terminals, which meet in a ring around the anal area and have no podial pores, but one of them serves as a madreporite; within this ring is a star-shaped area filled with minute irregular plates, none of which can safely be selected as the homologues of the so-called basals or genitals of later forms; within the ring of ambulacrals around the mouth are five somewhat pointed plates, which Jaekel regards as teeth, but which can scarcely be homologous with the interradially placed teeth of later echinoids, since they are radial in position; small spines are present, especially around the podial pores.
Pelmatozoa in which epithecal extensions of the food-grooves, ambulacrals, superficial oral nervous system, blood-vascular and water-vascular systems, coelom and genital system are continued exothecally upon jointed outgrowths of the abactinal thecal plates (brachia), carrying with them extensions of the abactinal nerve-system.
- Monocyclica in which the dorsal cup is confined to the patina and occasional intercalated anals;: such ambulacrals or interambulacrals as enter the tegmen remain supra-tegminal and not rigidly united.
- Monocyclica with dorsal cup primitively confined to the patina and an occasional single anal; tegmen solid; portions of the proximal brachials and their ambulacrals tend to be rigidly incorporated in the theca.