Live Sand Dollars. Most people probably don't realize that sand dollars are not those bone-colored shells that we are all used to seeing. They are a type of starfish that's fuzzy, and in the case of these, with a slight purple tint. They sit at all angles on the bottom of the ocean. What we normally see is the outer shell after the fuzz has died off and left nothing but the skeleton. Photo in Pacific Grove, CA, by Darvin Atkeson, via Flickr.