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The History of the Sand Dollar

This is the skeleton of a sand dollar. The sand dollar is an ocean animal related to the star fish and sea urchin. Look at the top surface and find the holes that form the star shape. Tube feet stuck out from these holes and were used for breathing and eating.

At the back of the shell is the mouth area where the sand dollar took in small particles of sea plants and sea animals. The five jaws found inside (the doves) crushed the food. Small purplish spines once covered the body and helped it wiggle through the sand water.

The sand dollar lives slightly buried in the sand in shallow coastal waters. It's thin, circular body is about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters)wide. It's dried skeleton looks like a large, white coin while a living sand dollar resembles a fuzzy brown cookie. The animal eats tiny aquatic organisms that it finds among the sand grains or traps from the surrounding waters. They live in large numbers in many parts of the world and are frequently tossed ashore after storms.

A sand dollar releases eggs from small openings near the center of the top of the body. The eggs develop into free-swimming larvae which eventually sink to the ocean floor and grow into the adult form.

Sand dollars belong to the phylum Echinodermata, class Echinoidea.

Sand dollar

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(The history and legend)

The Legend of the Sand Dollar

There's a pretty little legend
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus
Found in this lowly shell

If you examine closely,
You'll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman's Spear.

On one side the Easter Lily,
Its center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.

The Christmas poinsettia
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His birthday
Our Happy Christmastide.

Now break the centre open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread Good Will and Peace.

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me
To help us spread his Gospel
Through all eternity.


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::Webpage by Cecile Samson ::Updated February 5, 2007