Abstract

The skeleton of a new vauxiid sponge (Order Verongida), Angulosuspongia sinensis gen. et sp. nov., described on the basis of material from calcareous mudstones of the Kaili Formation (Cambrian Stage 5), Jianhe area, Guizhou, South China, is composed of two layers of fused spicules outlining hexagonal or polygonal openings. These vauxiid remains are the first reported from outside Laurentia, and represent only the second genus attributed to the family. Its age is close to but still slightly older than the Burgess Shale Biota, and it appears to be a primitive relative of other members of the Vauxiidae. The morphological differences between Chinese and Laurentian vauxiid sponges may be a result of vicariance. These specimens not only extend the geographic distribution of vauxiids, but also help to fill a chronostratigraphical gap between North Greenland and North American material and provide additional evidence for understanding the evolutionary history of the Demospongiae.

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