Q:

What is inside a sand dollar?

A:

Quick Answer

Sand dollars have five teeth inside them. When broken open, the teeth fall out and are shaped like doves, giving them a legendary meaning.

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Full Answer

Sand dollars are flattened, burrowing sea urchins related to sea cucumbers and starfish. The sand dollar's exoskeleton, or test, is made up of calcium carbonate plates arranged in a circular pattern and is covered with a velvety mat and spines with tiny hairs called cilia. These cilia help the animal to move or burrow into the sand and to ferry food into its mouth, located on the underside. Inside the mouth, the sand dollar has a set of five teeth, which produces the rattling sound when the test is shaken.

The Legend of the Sand Dollar is an Easter and Christmas favorite. This story tells of five doves that are inside the sand dollar that, when broken open, spread goodwill and peace.

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    Where do sand dollars live?

    A:

    Sand dollars are burrowing sea urchins found from northern Baja California to Alaska and throughout the Northern Hemisphere, with some species living in and around the Caribbean Sea. They live in subtidal zones in sheltered bays and in the muddy or sandy bottoms of intertidal zones. Off the coast, they can be found in waters as deep as 131 feet.

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  • Q:

    What is the legend of the sand dollar?

    A:

    The legend of the sand dollar holds that when Christ ascended to heaven, he left the sand dollar as a symbol to help the evangelists teach the faith. Physical elements of the sand dollar represent events related to Christ's life and death.

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