The stem of sea lilies is composed of a column of highly porous ossicles which are connected by ligamentary tissue. It attaches to the substrate with a flattened holdfast or with whorls of jointed, root-like structures known as cirri. Further cirri may occur higher up the stem. In crinoids that attach to hard surfaces, the cirri may be robust and curved, resembling birds' feet, but when crinoids live on soft sediment, the cirri may be slender and rod-like. Juvenile feather stars have a stem, but this is later lost, with many species retaining a few cirri at the base of the crown. The majority of living crinoids are free-swimming and have only a vestigial stalk. In those deep-sea species that still retain a stalk, it may reach up to 1 m (3 ft) in length (although usually much smaller), and fossil species are known with 20 m (66 ft) stems.