The fossil record of siliceous sponges—Hexactinellida and demosponge “Lithistida”—hinges upon both body fossils plus isolated spicules mostly recovered from limestones by acid digestion. The earliest record of siliceous sponge spicules extends back to the late Neoproterozoic of Hubei, southern China (Steiner et al., 1993) and Mongolia (Brasier et al., 1997), and body fossils attributed to the hexactinellids have been described from the Ediacaran of South Australia (Gehling and Rigby, 1996); thus they are the oldest-known definite representatives of extant animal phyla. The Early Cambrian saw a remarkable diversification in spicule morphology, with the appearance...

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