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Unusual deep water sponge assemblage in South China—witness of the end-Ordovician mass extinction
Li, L.; Feng, H.; Janussen, D.; Reitner, J. (2015). Unusual deep water sponge assemblage in South China—witness of the end-Ordovician mass extinction. NPG Scientific Reports 5(16060 ): 7 pp. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep16060
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Li, L.
  • Feng, H.
  • Janussen, D., more
  • Reitner, J.

Abstract
    There are few sponges known from the end-Ordovician to early-Silurian strata all over the world, and no records of sponge fossils have been found yet in China during this interval. Here we report a unique sponge assemblage spanning the interval of the end-Ordovician mass extinction from the Kaochiapien Formation (Upper Ordovician-Lower Silurian) in South China. This assemblage contains a variety of well-preserved siliceous sponges, including both Burgess Shale-type and modern type taxa. It is clear that this assemblage developed in deep water, low energy ecosystem with less competitors and more vacant niches. Its explosion may be related to the euxinic and anoxic condition as well as the noticeable transgression during the end-Ordovician mass extinction. The excellent preservation of this assemblage is probably due to the rapid burial by mud turbidites. This unusual sponge assemblage provides a link between the Burgess Shale-type deep water sponges and the modern forms. It gives an excellent insight into the deep sea palaeoecology and the macroevolution of Phanerozoic sponges, and opens a new window to investigate the marine ecosystem before and after the end-Ordovician mass extinction. It also offers potential to search for exceptional fossil biota across the Ordovician-Silurian boundary interval in China.

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