We greatly appreciate Steve Kershaw's interest in our work, and welcome this opportunity to further clarify our findings and their geobiological implications. We will reply to his concerns by section heading.

Ezaki et al. (2003) discovered coccoidal microbes (spheroids and ellipsoids) in the sparitic portions of earliest Triassic thrombolitic columns and masses. They described petrographic features in detail and illustrated them with SEM and light microscopy, showing various degrees of preservation of the sparitic parts. Coccoidal microbes also were observed within cryptic spaces in the sparitic parts and in the micritic parts of thrombolites that were deposited immediately after the...

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