Alphacrinus mansfieldi new genus and species from the Middle Tremadoc Series (Early Ibexian), near the base of the Ordovician, is the oldest known disparid crinoid. A new family, Alphacrinidae, receives this monospecific genus. Alphacrinus's character mosaic includes primitive traits unknown among other disparids, auguring for disparid origin from a more complexly plated, less standardized antecedent, and echoing the evolutionary progression documented for camerates and cladids. Disparids are diagnosed as those crinoids expressing an arm-like branch from the C ray. Morphologic progression indicates this distinctive trait evolved by modification of CD interray plates, not as an outgrowth from the C ray.