The 280 million-year-old Cundlego Formation was deposited on a storm-swept coastal shelf. The southern supercontinent Gondwana, of which the Australian continent was part of, had just emerged from a major ice age. A relatively rich marine fauna flourished in the cool but warming waters.
Periodic storm events buried the more immobile, bottom-dwelling species in a blanket of sand and silt. Exposures of the Cundlego Formation at Gascoyne Junction have produced rock surfaces littered with assembles of sea stars, brittle stars and filter feeding crinoids (sea lilies) that all perished during storms. A large slab of the Cundlego Formation, donated to the Western Australian Museum, shows numerous articulated crinoids and an undescribed species of sea star.
The Cundlego crinoids are highly desired and valuable fossils on the commercial fossil market. The commercial fossil trade in Australia, including exports and imports, is strictly regulated. The illegal export and import of protected fossils is a major issue in the field of palaeontology as individuals and companies involved in commercial fossil trade may completely deplete sites of scientifically valuable specimens. At a later stage, museums may be offered high quality specimens for purchase but restricted funding do typically not allow public institutions to successfully compete with private individuals.