An early Permian (late Artinskian–Roadian) cladid crinoid (Catacrinidae gen. et sp. indet.) is reported for the first time from the V ø ringen Member of the Kapp Starostin Formation of Spitsbergen. The specimen is partly articulated and preserves a considerable part of its stalk and a complete cup, but only the proximal portions of its arms. Thus, it cannot be identified with any degree of certainty at the generic level. Despite this, our finding is important as it constitutes one of the youngest records of catacrinid crinoids to date and considerably extends the palaeogeographic distribution of this group.
The end−Permian mass extinction constituted a major event in the history of crinoids. It led to the demise of the major Paleozoic crinoid groups including cladids, disparids, flexibles and camerates. It is widely accepted that a single lineage, derived from a late Paleozoic cladid ancestor (Ampelocrinidae), survived this mass extinction. Holocrinid crinoids ( Holocrinus , Holocrinida) along with recently described genus Baudicrinus (Encrinida), the only crinoid groups known from the Early Tria ssic, are considered the stem groups for the post−Paleozoic monophyletic subc lass Articulata. Here, we report preliminary data on unexpectedly diverse crinoid faunas comprisin g at least four orders from the Lower Triassic (Induan and Olenekian) of Svalbard, extending their stratigraphic ranges deeper into the early Mesozoic. These findings strongly imply that the recovery of crinoids in the aftermath of the end−Permian extinction began much earlier at higher palaeolatitudes than in the central Tethys.