Abstract

We report the oldest fossil occurrence of freshwater potamolepid sponges (Demospongiae, Spongillina, Potamolepidae) to date, originating from middle Eocene lake sediments accumulated in the Giraffe kimberlite maar, northern Canada. Sponges are represented by strongyle spicules that are gemmuloscleres. These are described herein as belonging to a new species, Potamophloios canadensis. Because the most similar extant potamolepid sponges inhabit subtropical to tropical water bodies, these observations provide further evidence of biogeographic reorganizations in response to warm high-latitude Eocene paleoclimates.

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