Abstract

Three new and one completely preserved species of hexactinellid sponges are described from Early Cambrian black shales of South Anhui, China. The sponges occur in the middle part of the Huangboling Formation, which is assigned to the early Canglangpuian based on trilobite biostratigraphy. Metaxyspongia skelidata n. gen. and sp. and Hexatractiella dongzhiensis n. sp. are subcylindrical thin-walled Protospongiidae. Ratcliffespongia multiforamina n. sp. is assigned to the Hintzespongiidae. With these new sponges, the first occurrences of the Protospongiidae and Hintzespongiidae, and of HexatractiellaMehl, 1996, can be traced back to the Early Cambrian. Solactiniella cf. plumataSteiner et al., 1993, with irregular rossellimorph skeletal architecture and regular spicular organization, is found here associated with the above species. Thus, the Anhui assemblage can be considered as intermediate between Atdabanian shallow-water communities of hexactinellids with irregular skeletons and the Middle Cambrian deepwater sponge facies characterized by regularly organized Hexactinellida.

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