Abstract

The history of research on the “true” stromatoporoids, a presumably monophyletic group of sponges that occurred from the Ordovician through the Devonian, is examined in detail. Stromatoporoid published research is summarized in five categories: quantity of publication; biological affinities; systematics; skeletal microstructure; and paleoecology. Quantity of publication is measured from each of the 75 years. Moderate levels of publication in the late 1920s and 1930s declined in the early 1940s, and were reduced to zero for four years due to the impact of World War II. Levels similar to that of the 1930s returned in the 1950s, after which there was an overall increase until the mid-1980s, when levels began a decrease that persists today. The proportion of research on paleoecology has increased as research on systematics decreased through time. Post-Devonian forms assigned to the stromatoporoids are a polyphyletic grouping of several apparently unrelated taxa, possibly representing both Porifera and Cnidaria. Publications on the post-Devonian “stromatoporoids” amount to less than one-third that on the true stromatoporoids during the same 75 years.

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